Dukes, electors and kings: between 1508 and 1918, Bavaria’s rulers governed the fates of their subjects from the Residenz (city palace).
Today, the Residenz is the largest palace in any German city centre. In terms of style, the palace’s growth over the centuries has led to it becoming a mix of Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassicism.
Looking out from Max-Joseph-Platz (square) to the Residenz palace, you might think you were in Florence: after ascending to power in 1825, King Ludwig I transferred his passion for Italy and the Renaissance into the design for his royal palace. For the palace’s main facade, his favourite architect Leo von Klenze used elements from the Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo Rucellai in Florence.
Highlights of a tour around the Residenz include the Grottenhof (Grotto Courtyard) with its central dripstone fountain as well as its shell wall and the Renaissance Antiquarium Hall which originally served the exhibtion of antique sculptures. Under Duke Wilhem V the Antiquarium, the oldest part of the residence, was converted into a ballroom where he and later his son, Maximilian I, dined on a gallery for their show dinners while the court could watch them. The special grotesque paintings and the ceiling paintings from Peter Candid's workshop are particularly impressive.
Other highlights are the Baroque Imperial Hall, the ornate Rococo-period Rich Rooms and King Ludwig I’s neoclassical State Apartment. The palace's treasury is home to around 1,500 pieces, including royal regalia belonging to the Bavarian royal family.
The Residenz also houses the Cuvilliés Theatre, which was designed by the architect François Cuvilliés and provided the setting for the premiere of Mozart’s opera Idomeneo in 1781. The Cuvilliés Theatre and the Court Church of All Saints of the Residenz still host concerts today. The otherwise quiet Brunnenhof turns into an open-air stage in summer and enchants Munich residents and guests of the city with musical performances of various genres.
Good to know: Munich Card holders are entitled to a reduced admission fee. If one owns the Munich City Pass, the entrance is free of charge. No matter which card you choose, the public transport is included.
Also interesting: You'll be left agog – how does a canary-yellow bathroom become part of the Munich city palace?