The tower was built between 1551 and 1552. The construction was initially supervised by Gieronimo da Levanto but on his death he was replaced by Giovan Battista de'Franchi. The tower was one of a series of coastal defences constructed by the Republic of Genoa between 1530 and 1620 to stem the attacks by Barbary pirates. In 2008 it was listed as one of the official historical monuments of France.
The tower is not open to the public. Since 2009 it has been owned by a French government agency, the Conservatoire du littoral. The agency plans to purchase 937 hectares of the land around the Golfe de Girolata and of 2011 had acquired 64 hectares.