Facts about Monaco

The Princely Palace reopens its doors to the public

The restoration work of the Prince’s Palace which has been going on since 2015 has been completed. Renovated historic rooms, stunning Italian Renaissance frescoes, works of art previously unknown to the public at large, and a golden sculpture of Prince Albert II can all be seen during excursions around the Palace this summer. 

The Princely Palace reopens
An image in “grotesque” style in the vault in the Hercules gallery © Photo Morgane Vie
The Princely Palace reopens
Allegory featured in the Hercules gallery © PPM/Morgane Vie
The Princely Palace reopens
“Killing the Nemean lion” painting © Photo Maël Voyer Gadin

Surprising discoveries of Monegasque restorers

Chance sometimes plays marvelous tricks on us… Thanks to an imposing restoration project initiated in 2015 by H.S.H. Prince Albert II, a fabulous set of Italian Renaissance frescoes was discovered. This authentic soap opera with its twists and turns lasted about two years ever since the renovation of the facades bordering the Cour d’Honneur in 2013. Perched on a scaffolding, experts in decorative heritage reached the height of the Hercules gallery’s ceiling. Somehow they had an intuition that a special venerable decor had been hidden under the layers of century-old paint. Having scraped off the varnish with a scalpel, the painters have magically brought out bold and pure colours announcing the frescoes of the Italian Renaissance.

The Princely Palace reopens
The Hercules gallery © Photo Geoffroy Moufflet

From then on, the quest was pursued across various Princely rooms and salons where historic decorations were patiently waiting to be finally revealed. We were in for quite a few surprises. The centrepiece of the Europe salon now reveals a medallion representing Europa kidnapped by Jupiter in the guise of a bull. The Throne room had another rare scene discovered by the investigative painters: the meeting between Odysseus and the shadow of the seer Tiresias in the kingdom of the dead on the road to Ithaca. The Green antechamber is all brightened up with grotesque figurines, both whimsical and satirical ornamental imagery. All in all, some 600 square metres of frescoes constituting an exceptional heritage. 

The Princely Palace reopens
A frieze detail in the Green antechamber © Photo Maël Voyer Gadin
The Princely Palace reopens
Detail of the vault in the Hercules gallery © Photo Maël Voyer Gadin
The Princely Palace reopens
“The Abduction of Europa” painting © Photo Maël Voyer Gadin

Remarkable items in the Princely quarters

The Princely Quarters (Grand Apartments) have been refurbished and enriched by an unprecedented number of paintings from the historic Princely collections. The “old quarter” (the Blue room, the History study and the Officers’ room) reveals portraits of young princes made in the 18th century by Pierre Gobert, views of Venice and Monaco and a remarkable chest of drawers signed by Pietro Piffetti.

The Princely Palace reopens
The Officers’ room © Photo Palais Princier
The Princely Palace reopens
Louis XIII room © Photo Maël Voyer Gadin
The Princely Palace reopens
The Louis XIII room ceiling under restoration © Palais Princier de Monaco
The Princely Palace reopens
“Odysseus at Nekuia” fresco on the ceiling of the Throne room © Photo Maël Voyer Gadin

The visit to the Royal antechamber is particularly moving. This is where Prince Rainier III first received actress Grace Kelly on May 6th, 1955, who was then to become Princess Grace. Picture rails feature German school 17th–18th century portraits and genre scenes belonging to Prince Jacques I.

The Royal Palace York chamber still guards a memory of high drama. In 1767 Prince Edward, brother of King George III, the Duke of York, took his last breath in here after having been transported to the palace for medical treatment while cruising off Monaco.

The Princely Palace reopens
The Blue room, or Matignon room © Photo Gaëtan Luci
The Princely Palace reopens
The Princes gallery © Photo Geoffroy Moufflet
The Princely Palace reopens
А frieze in the Europe room © Photo Maël Voyer Gadin
The Princely Palace reopens
Meticulous restoration in the Louis XIII room

The refinement of the study and the Valence room with its “La toilette de Vénus” by François Lemoyne and a painting by Louis-Jean François Lagrenée, are other rare jewels of the Palace.

Last but not least, comes a visit to the Princely gallery with its set of sculpted busts and portraits of the Grimaldi dynasty. A work by a contemporary American artist Barry X Ball features H.S.H. Prince Albert II all made in gold. A culminating point indeed of this magical journey!

The Princely Palace reopens
Restoration of a frieze in the Europe room
The Princely Palace reopens
Very delicate restoration techniques were applied to the ceiling of the Throne room
The Princely Palace reopens
In the restoration workshop of the Hercules gallery
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