Occupation of the Rocher by François Grimaldi
The arrival in Monaco of François Grimaldi, also known as “Malizia” because of his cunning nature, was caused by the conflict between the Guelphs, supporters of the Pope, and the Ghibellines, supporters of the Romano-Germanic emperor. When, in 1270, the Ghibellines became rulers over the Genoese, the exiled Guelphs positioned themselves under the protection of the Count of Provence and the King of Naples. The Grimaldi, who had several times served as consuls of the Genoese (in 1133, Otto Canella, then his son Grimaldo became consul in 1162) were Guelphs: “Given that the Grimaldi were not in Genoa, François Grimaldi, nicknamed François de Mazia, disguised in the habit of the friar minors, entered into the settlement of Monaco, killed the guards of this settlement and committed numerous offences against the Genoese” (Guillaume Ventura (1250-1327), spice merchant, Chronique d’Asti, s.d., translated by Claude Passet).
Though one might think that the chronicler of this episode used the name of Monaco (monk, in Italian) to describe the cunning modus operandi of François Grimaldi, the event is representative of the origin of the presence of the Grimaldi dynasty in Monaco, and explains the presence of the armed monk in the Prince’s coat of arms.
On 10 April 1301, the Count of Provence, Charles II d’Anjou, signed a treaty with the Grimaldi: the Grimaldi would restore him to his position on condition that he would negotiate honourable peace with the municipality of Genoa within four months, and that they would both return one another’s captives. The captives were returned on 4 May.
8 January 1297
Monaco - Prince's Palace
Prince’s Family coat of arms
François Grimaldi, also known as “Malizia”