Baldenstein Castle was the family castle for the Knights of Baldenstein, the first of which was mentioned in 1246. The central tower which now forms part of the castle was built around the same time. Very little is recorded about the Baldenstein family and by 1289 the castle was owned by the Freiherr von Löwenstein. Before 1289 he lost the castle in a war with the Freiherr von Rhäzüns, but in the peace treaty of that year received it back after giving Schwarzenstein Castle to Rhäzüns. In 1349 it passed to the Übercastel family. Wilhelm von Übercastel planned to expand and strengthen the castle, but was prevented by the Bishop of Chur, until he granted the Bishop certain rights. Originally the castle consisted of a rectangular bergfried. During the Late Middle Ages an administrative and residential wing was added to the west.
Around 1400 the castle passed to the Freiherr von Stein. Through marriage it then passed to the von Ringg (later Ringg von Baldenstein) family in 1453. In 1562 Luzius Ringg sold the castle to Jakob Ruinelli. The Ruinelli family lived in the castle for several generations. Jakob's grandson, also named Jakob, accompanied Jürg Jenatsch to Rietberg Castle in 1621 to murder Pompeius Planta during the Bündner Wirren. He, in turn, was stabbed to death in 1627 in a brawl between drunken officers. After his death the castle was inherited by the Rosenroll family. During the 16th and 17th centuries the castle was further expanded with a new, larger wing replacing the medieval residential wing. During the same time, the medieval ring wall was replaced with a new crenelated wall.
In 1738 the castle was acquired by the Salis-Sils family, who owned it for almost half a century. In 1782 it was inherited by Francesco Conrado, from Chiavenna in Italy. Francesco became a member of Senate of the Helvetic Republic after the French invasion of Switzerland in 1798. Eventually his descendants changed their name to Conrad and still own the castle. In 1877 the residential wing was mostly destroyed in a fire. It was rebuilt to its present appearance in the following years.
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.