Prince’s Palace of Monaco Has a Fresh Look Due to Restoration

Prince's Palace of Monaco Has a Fresh Look, through Rebuilding Freshly Discovered Frescoes from the 16th Century.

Jul 6, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Prince's Palace of Monaco
Fresco of the abduction of Europe in the Chambre dEurope, at Prince’s Palace of Monaco. PHOTO MAEL VOYER GADIN/©PRINCE’S PALACE OF MONACO


Prince’s Palace of Monaco uncovered amazing 16th century frescoes in 2015. Overall, the frescoes depict Hercules’ twelve labours (besides his birth and demise).  The Galerie d’Hercule is the location of their primary whereabouts. After that, the renovation began. The first order of business was to rebuild the Galerie d’Hercule, which is the first thing you will see inside the palace.


Prince’s Palace of Monaco – Every Renovation Was Better Than Previous

Prince's Palace of Monaco
View of the restored Galerie Hercule at the Palais de Monaco. PHOTO MICHAEL ALESI/©PRINCE’S PALACE OF MONACO


Since 1297, the palace belongs to the Grimaldi family since 1297. It is also the official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco. Recent discovery enabled a fresh look to the palace. The sole illustration of what a certain number of frescoes appeared as is a photograph from 1864. Artists Philibert Florence and Jean-Baptiste probably were the first ones who had a chance to work on the frescoes, in the 19th century.


At the end of the 20th century, Mauro Pellicioli and Leone Lorenzetti wanted to restore the frescoes. Instead of rebuilding the old ones, they created new murals. Each renovation ultimately left the prior one poorer. The newest repair, presented earlier this year and  accessible through October 15, is the centerpiece of a renovated Palace of Monaco. It also involved a complete redesign of the residence as well as a makeover of Prince Albert II’s quarters.


Alcove Louis XIII
View of the hidden fresco in the Alcove Louis XIII. PHOTO MAEL VOYER GADIN/©PRINCE’S PALACE OF MONACO


How guests access and leave the castle undergone some considerable adjustment. They will now pass through the primary entrance that connects the Galerie d’Hercule with the Chambre d’Europe and the remainder of the royal residence, as opposed to making their way from one end of the mansion to the other. How to harmonise the exterior evolved into a concern for the conservators, particularly because contemporary criteria demand that any modification remain recoverable.

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A Fresh Perspective On the Structure

Hercules Hydra
The recently restored lunette fresco showing Hercules slaying the Lernaean Hydra in the Galerie d’Hercule. PHOTO MAEL VOYER GADIN


Sharp viewers can see the minute changes between the old and modern, which is intended, according to Marion Jaulin, leader of the restoration team: “This way, visitors know exactly what is original and what is not”. (One fact worthy of highlighting is that Hercules 2.0 was based on a member of the Palace’s archive team who competes in martial activities.) Although reconstruction is progressing quickly, the Salle du Trône’s completion by the end of the summer is the key priority.


The remodelling effort gave the Palace’s staff a fresh perspective on their structure. This also encouraged them to consider how the artwork on show in each of the units might look in a different way. Prince Albert II made the decision to restore the Palace’s collections to their former splendour some 15 years ago. He eventually agreed to share these recent acquisitions with the public. This includes The Israelites in the Desert by Jacopo Bassano (1510–1592) and The Assembly of Gods by Orazio de Ferrari (1606–1657).


Palais de Monaco
View of the Palais de Monaco’s rehang after the fresco restoration of the Antichambre verte.


Despite its age, the Palais de Monaco is far from withering away. The stunning effect of seeing the restored frescoes in the Galerie d’Hercule lingers as you walk through palace’s brand-new display. The paintings on the walls have been cleaned as though no time had passed. It is especially special to experience as the conservators and curators continue the restoration project, where time collapses and past and present meet.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.