tour 1: sweet temptations of Empress Sisi

You probably know this great picture of a beautiful woman with long brown hair and diamond stars as hair accessories. This picture was painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter and shows the 28 year old Empress Elisabeth. She was the it girl of her time and the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I. Did you know that to this day it is not clear whether she called herself Sisi (with one s!) or Lisi. But what we do know is that she was very disciplined and did gymnastics every day. She had a gymnastics room set up in the Hofburg and was really slim compared to other women of her time. Her husband wasn’t exactly thrilled with that. In letters he encouraged her not to stick to her diet so strictly and to gain weight. (Who wouldn’t want a husband like that!)

But she had a great preference: violets. She loved the color and she loved the taste! Hence the tradition in Vienna that we offer you violets candied in sugar in our shop. Candied violets are a rare taste experience! After crumbling in your mouth, you will taste the real blossom and feel like an empress yourself!

You can start your Sisi tour in the first district. Visit the Imperial Apartments and the Sisi Museum in the Hofburg. Sisi was very athletic for her time. She had a gymnastics room set up in the Hofburg. The collection includes original clothes that show Sisi’s tight wasp waist. You can also find replicas of Sisi’s hair stars in the museum shop.

To find out more about her, you have to go to the Hermesvilla in the Lainzer Tiergarten. Sisi hated the city and the protocol of the Hofburg. Therefore, her husband, Emperor Franz Joseph, had a romantic villa built in the Lainzer Tiergarten, which is an expansive park, almost a forest. In the middle is her “Castle of Dreams”, the Hermesvilla. There you will find original furnishings that belonged to her.