Vienna is the brilliant central point in the life of the empress. The fulminant, imperial marriage ceremony takes place in the Hofburg and later the couple’s silver wedding anniversary is recognized here. In 1857 Elisabeth and Franz Joseph move into the “Imperial Apartments” of the Hofburg which have been preserved in their original form. But it is also here where tension and frustration soon become present. Sisi’s exercise and dressing room, bedroom, bathroom and large salon all reveal exclusive insight into the life of the empress.
The Sisi Museum located in Hofburg is a successful presentation of Elisabeth’s emotional worlds. With more than 300 personal items belonging to Elisabeth it reveals the many-faceted image between myth and truth of the empress’ naive and eccentric melancholic personality. Sisi spends her first night in Vienna in Schönbrunn Palace, the imperial summer residence with more than 1000 rooms. The empress spends many summer months in the apartments on the west side of the baroque palace and later on the first floor there.
A very special and interesting site to see is the Imperial Wagenburg located in the palace park. The carriages symbolically represent significant points in Sisi’s life, ranging from the coach she rode in as an imperial bride, to the coach she used in Budapest at her coronation, to the coach she traveled with in Geneva – and finally, her hearse. Robes of the empress are also displayed along with her saddle and pictures of her horses. The palace park itself is especially impressive with a baroque accentuation, including many fountains, a maze, and the palm and desert houses, both of which are unique iron constructions. In the exquisite furniture collection of the Imperial Furniture Museum from 1747, many items have been stored which the Habsburgs no longer needed in their residencies.
This collection is one of the largest museums worldwide for the cultivation of home décor. In the permanent exhibition “Sissi in the movies,” there are a great number of exhibits from the “Sissi” films starring Romy Schneider as well as furniture originally owned by the empress. Sisi was laid to rest in the Imperial Crypt beneath the Capuchin Church, next to her husband and son.
The Schönbrunn Zoo which was founded in 1752 by the Habsburgs is the oldest zoo in the world still maintained and is located in the park of Schönbrunn Palace. Three times this zoo has been selected as Europe’s best.