“An Italian style villa for the summer season only, set in the mildest part of the kingdom”, this was the wish of King Ludwig I of Bavaria (1786–1868) which became a reality in the form of Villa Ludwigshöhe Castle near Edenkoben.
The classic-style villa is reminiscent of the ancient buildings from which it drew inspiration, and features delightful wooden floors, intricate ceiling and wall paintings and a unique view over the Palatinate and the Upper Rhine Plain.
The villa is now also home to the Max Slevogt Gallery, part of the Mainz State Museum and the Hinder/Reimers Ceramic Collection.
There are signposts to public car parks near the Villa Ludwigshöhe. There is parking for coaches right in front of the castle.
There was once a king of Bavaria who loved Italy so much he had an Italian-style residence built for him in the Palatinate. His name was Ludwig I (1786–1868). And the residence is Villa Ludwigshöhe, which is still standing today – a striking building visible for miles above Edenkoben on the Weinstrasse, where the vines for Palatinate wines meet the dense Palatinate forest. From there, your eyes can roam freely over the charming scenery of the Palatinate and the Upper Rhine Plain, as far as the Electoral Palatinate and Baden. The foundation stone for the building, which was to serve as a summer residence for the king, was laid in 1846. He and his wife Theresa travelled there from Munich for the first time in July 1852, planning to enjoy six weeks of summer weather. But by then, Ludwig was no longer the king, having been forced to abdicate in 1848, not least because of the vociferous objections from his Bavarian subjects to his Majesty’s erotic and political affair with dancer Lola Montez. But that’s another story. Villa Ludwigshöhe is strikingly different from all the other castles and palaces with which Rhineland‑Palatinate is so richly blessed. Ludwig I expressly asked his architect to design his royal residence as an ‘Italian-style villa’. Looking at the four wings of the main building with its two-storey loggia supported by columns, you could almost be in Tuscany or Rome. Villa Ludwigshöhe Castle has also been the permanent home of the works of Max Slevogt (1868–1932) since 1980. The historic vaulted cellar of the villa also features an exhibition of the Hinder/Reimers Collection belonging to the state of Rhineland‑Palatinate, showcasing high-calibre 20th century ceramic art. What was once the royal dining room on the ground floor is now used for prestigious cultural events, especially concerts. So the fact that Villa Ludwigshöhe is primarily used for cultural purposes chimes perfectly with its original sponsor’s appreciation of the arts. Ludwig I was not only a great patron of the arts but also an aspiring poet. (Text: Andreas Pecht)