Although it goes back to medieval origins, Schloss Ambras in it present form is the result of extensive remodelling commissioned by Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol. From 1563 Ambras was remodelled in late Renaissance style, one of its most impressive elements being the ‘Spanish Hall’. It became the preferred residence of Ferdenand and his morganatic wife Philippine Welser, and housed the archduke’s extensive collections. In keeping with contemporary notions, art and curiosities were presented side by side in order to give visitors an impression of the manifold wonders of the world.
Following the archduke’s death the collection at Ambras was taken over by Emperor Rudolf II and amalgamated with the imperial collections.
The palace fell into decline and by the nineteenth century had become very dilapidated. It was then restored on the initiative of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, since when parts of the Ambras collection have been on display back at their original location.