Empress Elisabeth

Sissi at Trauttmansdorff

Die Gärten von Schloss Trauttmansdorff
The Austrian Empress Elisabeth loved the spa town of Merano and Trauttmansdorff Castle.
After her arrival “in the strictest incognito” (yet with a retinue of 102 people!) via the newly commissioned Brenner Railway, Sissi moved into her rooms – sumptuously furnished and renovated especially for her – at Merano’s Trauttmansdorff Castle for the first time on 16 October 1870.

A castle for an empress

A new court telegraph office, with direct connection to Vienna, was even set up expressly for Sissi. The monarch only used a few rooms of the castle, which was unusual for an empress. There were, however, the most beautiful rooms in the entire castle: they offered spectacular views of the Adige (Etsch) Valley and were graced with lavish tiled ovens, frescoes and elaborately ornamented wooden ceilings. On account of its sunny location, protected from the wind, the Austrian Empress Elisabeth selected Trauttmansdorff Castle for her vacation.

It was thanks to Empress Sissi’s stay at Trauttmansdorff and the speedy recovery of her ailing daughter, Marie Valerie, that the town of Merano achieved world fame as a health resort. Trauttmansdorff Castle became a fashionable destination for aristocrats and the well heeled – and was always fully booked.

It was not until 1889 – 18 years after her first stay at Merano’s Trauttmansdorff Castle and half a year after the death of her son, Rudolf – that Sissi issued the order to rent the castle for another stay. Her return to Merano was most likely due to “memories of earlier, happier times,” as the empress later wrote about her stay at Trauttmansdorff. Empress Sissi spent two of her four Merano health sojourns at Trauttmansdorff Castle.