The fun-loving Bavarian princess who married her Austrian cousin Emperor Franz Joseph – and who, in spite of her beauty, wealth, and popularity, was unhappy with life at the court: it is the tragic story of Empress Elisabeth – or “Sisi”, as she was affectionately known – is still moving today.
Trapped in the strict court ceremonial, she found her escape in restless travel, extreme sport, depression, and loneliness. Her son, Crown Prince Rudolf, committed suicide – after he had tried in vain right from childhood to win his mother’s attention. Sisi’s life ultimately ended in a quick and unexpected assassination.
The myth surrounding the wife of the penultimate Emperor of Austria is unrelenting: not least because the film adaptation of Sisi’s story, starring Romy Scheider, brought it to international audiences. Today in Vienna, where the legendary empress lived and suffered, fans can follow directly in her footsteps: at the Sisi Museum in the Hofburg. Here, her life story begins afresh, set in the original rooms of the Imperial couple. The museum’s offering is completed by a shop and café.
The tour at the Sisi Museum
The exciting round tour begins with Sisi’s death – and in further steps, illuminates Elisabeth’s carefree life before her marriage, her struggle with the pressures and rules of the court, the myth surrounding her person, and the suicide of her son Rudolf. The final exhibition room deals with her assassination at the hands of Italian migrant worker and anarchist Luigi Lucheni. He ambushed the Empress during her stay in Geneva and stabbed her.
Guided tours through the Imperial Apartments
Aside from the standard tour – with a lot of valuable background information – special tours are also offered:
- Evening tours with a special flair
- Children’s tour followed by chance to try on imperial clothes afterwards
- Private tours
The Sisi Museum is located in the Vienna Hofburg. By the way: There is, of course, plenty more of Sisi to discover in Vienna – for example, her famous monument in Volksgarten.