Riding Hall 1400m2 / 60x23m
Originally the dining room of the hunting lodge built for Joseph I, the Blue Staircase was remodelled by Nikolaus Pacassi around 1745 into a ceremonial stairway when it was converted into a residential and family palace for Maria Theresa.
The tour of the piano nobile starts with the Herringbone Room (on the right at the top of the Blue Staircase).
During the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph (and possibly earlier) an Aide-de-Camp’s Room was set up immediately before the monarch’s apartments on the piano nobile of the palace.
Emperor Franz Joseph’s guards were posted in this room in order to protect the entrance to his private apartments.
The Billiard Room is the first in the suite comprising the audience rooms and private apartments of Franz Joseph. These rooms still have their original decoration and furnishings, most of which date from the second half of the nineteenth century.
The Walnut Room was furnished with the wooden panelling that gives it its name as an audience room for Joseph II around 1765, when he became co-regent with his mother, Maria Theresa.
Emperor Franz Joseph’s Study
The plain, rather modest furnishings in Franz Joseph’s study provide a complete contrast to the imposing décor of the Audience Chamber.
The concealed door at the back of the room leads into the closet of the emperor’s personal valet-de-chambre, Eugen Ketterl.
Franz Joseph’s Bedroom
The emperor’s day began in his bedroom and followed a strict timetable.
Western Terrace Cabinet
The Western Terrace Cabinet leads into the apartments of Empress Elisabeth.
The Staircase Cabinet served Elisabeth as a study. Here she wrote letters and composed her diaries as well as her poetry.
At Schönbrunn, as in other imperial court residences, Elisabeth had her own dressing room.
Imperial Couple’s Bedroom
This bedroom was furnished for the imperial couple on their marriage in 1854 in the Rococo Revival or ‘Blondel’ style with rosewood furniture made by the company of Schweigard & Abermann.
Salon of Empress Elisabeth
The salon where the empress received her visitors was also refurbished in 1854 in Rococo Revival style with its typical white-and-gold panelling and matching furniture.
Marie Antoinette Room
During Elisabeth’s time this room served as a dining room. The table is laid for a family dinner with Viennese porcelain, Viennese court silverware made by the company of Mayerhofer & Klinkosch, and prism-cut lead crystal glasses made by Lobmeyr & Co.
A typical Rococo Revival salon and formerly part of Empress Elisabeth’s apartments, this room today provides the setting for the famous likenesses of Maria Theresa’s daughters.
Set into the white-and-gold panelling of the Breakfast Cabinet are framed floral medallions, which according to an entry made in the journal of Count Zinzendorf, who visited Schönbrunn in 1761, were made by Elisabeth Christine, the mother of Maria Theresa.
The Yellow Salon is the first room in the apartments that face the gardens. It underwent several refurbishments during the course of the palace’s history, eventually ending up decorated in the Rococo Revival style of the second half of the nineteenth century.
The paintings in the Balcony Room were executed by the court painter Martin van Meytens and show some of Maria Theresa’s children.
With its magnificent white-and-gold Rococo décor and the crystal mirrors that give this room its name, the Mirrors Room is a typical example of a state room from the era of Maria Theresa.
Created as a unit comprising one large and two small rooms in the 1760s, the following three rooms are named after the artist Joseph Rosa, who executed fifteen landscape paintings for the ensemble at the behest of Maria Theresa.
Before electric lighting was installed in the palace the lantern-bearers used to wait in this room. Their task was to light the way of the imperial family or members of the court household after dark. The room is also remarkable for the marble door panelling dating from the time of Joseph I.
Over forty metres long and almost ten metres wide, the Great Gallery provided the ideal setting for court functions. From the mid-eighteenth century onwards, it was used for balls, receptions and as a banqueting hall.
Built at the same time as the Great Gallery, the Small Gallery was used for minor family celebrations during the reign of Maria Theresa.
East Asian Cabinets
Around 1755/60 the two cabinets were appointed with precious chinoiserie furnishings and decoration, testifying tot he predilection and admiration for the lacquerwork, silk wall hangings and porcelain from China and Japan that started in the early eighteenth century and had increasingly influence on styles of interior decoration in the princely palaces of Europe
The Carousel Room served as the antechamber to the apartments of Maria Theresa and Franz Stephan of Lorraine in the East Wing of the palace.
Hall of Ceremonies
The Hall of Ceremonies served not only as the second or Large Antechamber to Emperor Franz Stephan’s apartments but also as a ceremonial hall for family celebrations such as christenings, name-days and birthdays, weddings of members of the court household who were of noble birth, and for court banquets.
The Stallions Room was used as a dining room during the nineteenth century. Displayed here today is the so-called Marshal’s Table, a festively decorated table set for a dinner of the highest-ranking military officers and court officials, who dined without the emperor, as was customary in Franz Joseph’s time.
Blue Chinese Salon
The Blue Chinese Salon once served as the council chamber of Emperor Franz I Stephan. The Chinese paper wall-hangings with floral motifs on a yellow ground that give the room its name probably date from that time, as does the walnut panelling.
Vieux Laque Room
The Vieux Laque Room was the private study of Franz Stephan. Following his sudden death in 1765 Maria Theresa had it remodelled as a memorial room to her beloved husband.
Today known as the Napoleon Room, this was previously the bedroom shared by Franz Stephan and Maria Theresa from 1746. During the nineteenth century it was refurbished several times, as revealed by restoration work carried out in 2007.
The décor of the Porcelain Room as it appears today dates back to 1763, when the room was used by Maria Theresa as her study. A typical example of chinoiserie, the painted wood panelling and the carved blue and white framing were intended to imitate porcelain, which was highly prized in the eighteenth century.
The Millions Room was given its name on account of the precious wall panelling made from an exotic type of tropical rosewood that was called ‘Fekatin’ or ‘Vicatin’.
The room known as the Gobelin Salon belonged to the apartments occupied from 1837 to 1873 by Franz Joseph’s parents, serving Archduke Franz Karl, Emperor Ferdinand’s younger brother, and his wife, Sophie, as a drawing-room. Hung with a selection of formal family portraits, it was furnished in the Biedermeier style.
Archduchess Sophie’s Study
This room was furnished for Franz Joseph’s mother.
Now decorated with white-and-gold panelling and red court damask wall hangings, the Red Salon served as a clothes cabinet during the era of Maria Theresa. According to the inventory taken in 1812, the built-in cupboards were used as library cabinets and dismantled a century later in 1914.
Eastern Terrace Cabinet
Also known from 1775 as the Flower Cabinet on account of the garlands of flowers painted on its walls, the Eastern Terrace Cabinet lies on the Parade Court side of the palace and enabled the imperial family to gain access to a terrace above the arcades that enclose the Parade Court.
Until recently it was thought that Emperor Franz Joseph was born in this room in 1830.
Study and Salon of Franz Karl
This room together with the adjoining salon was occupied by Archduke Franz Karl, the father of Emperor Franz Joseph, from 1835 to 1878.
The Hunting Room is the final room in the tour of the palace on the piano nobile and evokes Schönbrunn’s former role as a hunting lodge.
Billiard Room 70m2 / 14x5m
Here you can see a selection of copper vessels, pans and moulds which convey an idea of the range of different activities carried out in the court kitchens.
Old Court Silver and Table Rooms
In the five rooms of the Old Court Silver and Table Room with its oak display cases dating from the time of the monarchy you will see individual items or pieces from Old Vienna, Hungarian and Bohemian services.
The Court on the Road
The crowning feature of the place setting is the napkin arranged in the elaborate “Imperial Fold”, forming a hollow enclosing a small bread roll.
Milan Centrepiece commissioned from the firm of Luigi Manfredini to mark the coronation of Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria as King of Lombardy and Venetia in 1838
These plates, some with a brown and others with a white ground, were used as dessert plates when the imperial dining table was laid with the Grand Vermeil Service.
From the beginning of the nineteenth century there was a tradition at the Viennese court according to which the emperor and empress washed the feet of twelve men and twelve women each year on Holy Thursday, in remembrance of the act of humility performed by Christ in washing the feet of his disciples.
Diverse Dinner Service
This white and gold dinner service was acquired in 1851 for Emperor Ferdinand, nicknamed ‘the Good-Natured’ by the people, who abdicated from the throne in favour of his young nephew, Franz Joseph, and subsequently moved to the castle at Prague.
Sèvres und Meissner Service
The ‘Green Bands’ Service was an exquisite gift given by the French king Louis XV to Maria Theresa to mark the renversement des alliances and the beginning rapprochement between the ruling Bourbon and Habsburg dynasties following the devastating Wars of Succession.
Old French Centrepiece
The Old French Centrepiece was commissioned in Paris in 1838 to mark the coronation of Emperor Ferdinand as king of Lombardy and Venetia in Milan.
The Silver Collection owes its rich and important holdings of East Asian porcelain dating to around 1700 to Duke Charles Alexandre of Lorraine, brother of the Holy Roman Emperor Franz I and brother-in-law of Maria Theresa.
The Minton Dessert Service
Queen Victoria purchased the service and sent part of it (sixty-nine pieces) as a gift of friendship to Emperor Franz Joseph.