François Grimaldi

Francois Grimaldi

François Grimaldi
Place du Palais, Monaco-Ville, Monaco

It was a cold, dark night in January 1297, when a small group of Franciscan monks stood shivering outside the fortress on the Rock of Monaco. The Genoese nobles who ruled the fortress agreed to give the monks shelter and let them in. Big mistake. No sooner were they through the fortress gates than the monks threw off their habits, revealing armour and swords beneath. The monks were not monks at all. They were François Grimaldi and his band of soldiers. Together, they captured the fortress, establishing Grimaldi rule in the area for the first time. This adventure earned François the nickname, Il Malizia, which means the Cunning One in Italian. But as for deceiving his way into other people’s fortresses dressed a monk, let’s hope François didn’t make a habit of it.


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