In Bad Ischl the quickest way to travel back in time to the gilded 1880s is to head for the mammoth Kaiservilla, the imperial-yellow (signifying wealth and power) residence, which looks rather like a miniature Schönbrunn: its ground plan forms an "E" to honor the empress Elisabeth. Archduke Markus Salvator von Habsburg-Lothringen, great-grandson of Franz Josef, still lives here, but you can tour parts of the building to see the ornate reception rooms and the surprisingly modest residential quarters (through which sometimes even the archduke guides guests with what can only be described as a very courtly kind of humor). It was at this villa that the emperor signed the declaration of war against Serbia, which officially marked the start of World War I. The villa is filled with Habsburg and family mementos, none more moving than the cushion, on display in the chapel, on which the head of Empress Elisabeth rested after she was stabbed by an Italian assassin in 1898.
- Address: Kaiserpark, Bad Ischl | Map It
- Phone: 06132/23241
- Cost: Grounds €5; combined ticket including tour of villa, €13
- Hours: Jan.–Mar., Wed. 10–4; Apr.–Oct., daily 10–4; May–Sept., daily 9:30–5; Dec. Advent weekends and Dec. 26–Jan. 6, 10–4. Closed Nov.
- Website: www.kaiservilla.at
- Location: Bad Ischl