Situated in an idyllic setting in the middle of the former imperial hunting grounds, now Lainzer Tiergarten, is the "Palace of Dreams", as Empress Elisabeth once called her villa. Emperor Francis Joseph gave it to her in the hope of persuading his wife – a keen traveller – to spend more time in Vienna.
It took over five years for the famous Ringstrasse architect Carl von Hasenauer to build the villa, a model for many romantic country houses devised for the haute bourgeoisie. The villa took its name from the statue of "Hermes as Guardian" standing in the garden.
What was domestic life like
for an emperor and empress?
This can be seen in an impressive exhibition on the history of the house arranged on the first floor - photographs, plans and documents, above all the still existent parts of the original furnishings, and many personal items belonging to the emperor and empress convey the imperial lifestyle away from official court etiquette. The empress’s bedroom is equally sensational. The huge royal bed is from the time of Maria Theresa, the murals depict motifs from Shakespeare’s "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" after designs by Hans Makart.
Renowned historicist artists, among them Franz Matsch, Hugo Charlemont, Georg and Gustav Klimt, designed the interior of the imperial private apartment. Sisi was very body-conscious and performed her physical exercises in the gym, similarly furnished in bright colours.
No other place in Vienna can offer such a combination of art, culture and the enjoyment of nature!