To visit the Belvedere Palace we got on the U-Bahn and rode the train to the Sudtiroler Platz Station. From here it was a short 10 minute walk to the Palace grounds. The Palace actually consists of an Upper and Lower Palace which were built in the 18th Century as the summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736). We were a little limited on time on this visit as my husband had a work meeting later in the day, so we chose to just buy a ticket for the Upper Palace only, which houses the impressive collection of Austrian art, including the world’s largest Gustav Klimt collection.
No photographs are allowed of any of the artwork, but in the entry way there is a large copy of Klimt’s “The Kiss”, where you are allowed to snap pictures, so of course I couldn’t resist the opportunity.
We were particularly interested to see the Gustav Klimt paintings after watching the film “Woman in Gold”, based on the true story of Maria Altmann, a Jewish refugee who took on the Austria Government to get back family paintings that were taken from her family by the Nazi’s during WWII.
After leaving the entrance hall, there is a l lovely Grand Staircase that is striking with white walls and large black ironwork lanterns. The palace has many rooms filled with beautiful Austrian artworks, and then there are rooms where the room it’s self is the artwork, such as the Chapel and the spectacular Marble Hall.
The Marble Hall is two story’s high and has a fabulous fresco on the ceiling painted in 1721 by Carlo Innocenzo Carlone. From the Hall there is also a wonderful view out the back looking down across the gardens towards the Lower Belvedere Palace and across Vienna.
After taking a good amount of time perusing all the artwork, we walked down through the formal gardens, dotted with may statues, towards the Lower Belvedere Palace. The Lower Palace has many ornate rooms and houses temporary exhibitions, but we hadn’t purchased a ticket that covered entry. When you are at the ticket office there a number of options on your ticket purchase which gives you flexibility on what you want to see. We had used up our morning and my husband had a meeting to get to, so we concluded our enjoyable time here by walking back through the pretty gardens.
On the day we were leaving we had the morning free, so we had decided to try to tour the famous Opera House. We got there fairly early to ensure we got tickets, which was probably just as well because quite a large group gathered.
Waiting for the tour to start we were waiting in the entrance foyer, so had time to admire the grand staircase. Before the tour set out, they separated us into smaller groups each with a guide, and then the groups toured the Opera House each in a different order which I thought was quite a clever way of getting a lot of people though in one go!
We were shown some of the State rooms, including one that had around the room small busts of Opera composers.
We also got to see the main auditorium, which had scenery on stage, and also went backstage which was fascinating because it is a huge area and 2 story’s high! You tend to forget how much scenery, and how many props have to be stored back there and moved around, it gave a great sense of the scale of productions.
The tour lasted about 45 minutes and gave us a real glimpse behind the scenes, (excuse the pun). They gave us lots of interesting facts about the history and architecture of the building and a good insight into the running of an Opera House. The cost of the tour was 7.50 Euros and it was given in multiple different languages.
Date of visit; October 2015.