© Tanja Müller

Ritterscher Palace Lucerne

The most impressive Renaissance palazzo in the city - the Ritter Palace from the 16th century.

The Rittersche Palast is now the government building of the Canton of Lucerne and the seat of the cantonal administration. It is also a destination for art and history devotees: adorning the top floor corridor is Jakob von Will’s Dance Macabre, which comprises seven pictures and 23 scenes, which is open to the public during office opening hours from Mon-Fri. The scenes present various social classes being confronted with death.

The graceful inner courtyard in the center of the palace is open to the public from Monday to Friday.


© Tanja Müller


The landowner, Lux (Lucius) Ritter was a captain in the French King’s Regiment in North Italy. He was put at the head of the town and republic of Lucerne on his return to his homeland. He sought to emphasise his social status by building a Renaissance palazzo in the Florentine style. The Ritterscher Palace was the work of the Italian architect Giovanni Lynzo, who was sentenced to death for heresy during its construction. Ritter himself died shortly afterwards. He therefore did not live to see the completion of his palace.

The city of Lucerne completed Ritter's palace and handed it over to the newly arrived Jesuits in Lucerne as a residential building in 1577. The impressive building has been the cantonal government building since 1804.