Prince’s Palace reopens to reveal hidden treasures

The Grand Apartments of the Prince’s Palace are finally reopening to the public, two years later than expected, revealing delicately re-worked frescoes and hidden Italian masterpieces.

It was during restoration works, requested by Prince Albert in 2015, that experts unveiled hidden Genoese frescoes dating from the 16th Century, prompting a major research project to unearth the truth behind these stunning pieces of Italian art history.

The frescoes and their stories were to be revealed to the public in April 2020, but a global pandemic curtailed those plans for two years.  

Restoration works unveiled hidden works from the Italian renaissance period, photo by Maël Voyer Gadin Prince’s Palace

Now, on Friday 1st July, the Grand Apartments of the Prince’s Palace will be receiving visitors once more. They will be taken on a new chronological tour of the Palace, highlighting restored frescoes and the history of the Grimaldi dynasty, told through paintings and never-before seen artworks, including a portrait of Lucien, who ruled from 1505 to 1523.

Built in 1215, the Palace reveals the changing tastes over time and is filled with beautiful pieces of art, painted ceilings and elaborately decorated spaces. Though certainly museum-quality, the rooms feel more accessible and liveable due to the way they have been staged.

The paintings, which were hand-picked by the princes of Monaco in the 18th century, include one by Jacopo Bassano which was purchased by Jacques I. It was then on display at the Hôtel de Matignon in Paris but disappeared during the French Revolution only to crop up again a few years ago. Prince Albert II bought the painting back and it now sits once again in its rightful place in the Palace.

Photo by Jean-François Ottonello

In fact, all the furniture of the Prince’s Palace was dispersed during the French Revolution. “Prince Albert II’s concern for heritage also manifested in concern for the reconstitution of these old princely collections,” said the Director of Archives of the Prince’s Palace, Thomas Fouilleron, who worked with scenographer Cecile Degos on the project. “The aim being to buy back as much as possible these collector’s items that appear on the art market or finding elements of the same era.”

This new approach differs from the former, where each room represented different styles. The new look is more organic and authentic, according to the Director of Archives.

Audio guides allow guests to explore the space in 11 languages. There is also an app where videos show how the rooms appear when in use. One notable space is the Throne Room, where visitors see the royal chair that has been in use since the time of Charles III.

Galerie des Princes. Photo by Geoffroy Moufflet, Prince’s Palace Archives

The room where Prince Rainier III first met Princess Grace in 1955 is also part of the tour, filled with rather avant-garde 18th century Flemish-style paintings.

The tour ends in the Galerie des Princes where busts of past sovereigns line the walls, including a striking piece by contemporary artist Barry X Ball of Prince Albert II 

The Grand Apartments are open daily from 1st July to 15th October. For more information, visit the website at



Forgotten Renaissance frescoes uncovered in Palace



Top photo source: Prince’s Palace