Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Villa Hermes in Vienna, Austria

The Villa Hermes can be difficult, but well worth its rewards, to reach. A tram and a bus ride later, you find yourself at the entrance to Lainzer Tiergarten. The grounds itself were the imperial hunting grounds of Emperor Franz Joseph I, and walking through the equivalent of a large national park, one can easily imagine wild boars crashing through the woods. And this is still an image that lucky visitors will come upon, for wild boar still roam the woods of the Lainzer Tiergarten. Much more docile, however, are the deer that are fenced in and incredibly receptive to visitors, though you are asked politely not to feed or pet them.

Ten minutes through the park nets you a brief glimpse of Villa Hermes and soon after you are upon it. Franz Joseph I gifted his wife Empress Elisabeth, affectionately known a
s Sissy, with this villa as her private retreat. Mythological statuary populate the grounds, including a beautiful one of Hermes itself, after which the villa is named. The inside of the villa contains numerous exhibitions and visitors are allowed to walk through many of the rooms and take pictures. The most impressive room is arguably the Empress's Dormitory. One can view her fascination with Titania here, as the room is a menage of A Midsummer Night's Dream paintings and furniture.

Hermes Villa and the associated Lainzer Tiergarten are currently open from Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 6pm. Their website is only in German, but you can visit it here.

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