Marmorschlössl

Above the Kaiservilla in the hilly park surrounding the summer residence of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria and his wife Elisabeth, lies a little palace by the name of Marmorschlössl. It was the hideaway of the Empress, better known as Sisi, when in Bad Ischl. (And there's no better after-Christmas treat considering my annual Christmas obsession with the Sissi movies.) While Schlössl is the minimisation of Schloss, Marmor (marble) comes from the material used called Untersberger Marmor, though it was actually a form of limestone. 
It was at Bad Ischl were both Franz Joseph and Elisabeth enjoyed spending time. Sisi, who otherwise despised her life as an Empress, felt reminded of her childhood at Schloss Possenhofen in Bavaria, and could go hiking and riding as much as she liked. The Kaiservilla had been a gift by the Emperor's mother and the couple spent almost every summer in the Salt Chamber region near Salzburg. The Imperial Villa is surrounded by a large English-style park, that you should definetely take your time discovering when visiting Bad Ischl. Between 1856 and 1861, court gardener Franz Rauch built the Marmorschlössl in the Tudor-style to fit with the landscape design of the whole park.
Empress Elisabeth used the Marmorschlössl as her refuge while in Bad Ischl often writing poems, planning her next travels and meeting with friends. Like the Kaiservilla, the Marmorschlössl remained in the hands of the Habsburg family even after the end of the monarchy in 1918 unlike their other possessions. Both places were inherited after the Emperor's death by his youngest daughter Archduchess Marie-Valerie, who was married to a distant Habsburg cousin. As the Emperor's daughter didn't have any rights to succeed to the throne herself and her husband was very far down the line of succession, they decided to sign a paper waiving any rights. Thus the ensemble in Bad Ischl stayed in their hands.
After the end of the monarchy, it was used for different purposes. A few decades later it was feared that the Marmorschlössl would fall into ruins when, in 1975, the owners struck a deal with the state of Upper Austria: The state would get the right to use the palace for 50 years while paying for renovation and upkeep. Since 1978, a photo museum is housed in the Marmorschlössl.

Good to know:
The photo museum inside the Marmorschlössl is open from Mai to September between 9.30am and 5pm as well as in April and October from 10am to 4pm. Admission per adult is 2 euros though you also have to pay 4,60 euros to get into the Kaiserpark as well. For more information, have a look here.

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