Once part of Vienna's medieval Latin Quarter, Schönlaterngasse is the main artery of a historic neighborhood that has blossomed in recent years, thanks in part to government Kulturschillinge—or renovation loans. Streets are lined with beautiful baroque town houses (often with colorfully painted facades), now distinctive showcases for art galleries, boutiques, and coffeehouses. At No. 5 you'll find a covered passage that leads to the historic Heiligenkreuzerhof courtyard. The picturesque street is named for the ornate wrought-iron wall lantern at Schönlaterngasse 6. Note the baroque courtyard at Schönlaterngasse 8—one of the city's prettiest.
Basiliskenhaus. The quarter's most famous house is the Basiliskenhaus. According to legend, on June 26, 1212, a foul-smelling basilisk (half rooster, half toad, with a glance that could kill) took up residence in the courtyard well, poisoning the water. An enterprising apprentice dealt with the problem by climbing
down the well armed with a mirror; when the basilisk saw its own reflection, it turned to stone. The petrified creature can still be seen in a niche on the building's facade. Be sure to peek into the house's miniature courtyard for a trip back to medieval Vienna. Schönlaterngasse 7, A-1010.
Alte Schmiede. A former blacksmith's workshop, this is now a center for literature, art, and music. Entry is free for all events. Schönlaterngasse 9, A-1010. 01/512–8329. www.alte-schmiede.at. U-Bahn: U1 or U3/Stephansplatz.