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Be like Sissi
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Be like Sissi

Hike where Sissi once strolled, eat where Sissi once lived and bathe as Sissi once bathed. All this and more is possible in Merano/Meran!

While on holiday in Merano, it’s hard to miss the traces of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Time and again, you’ll come across the traces of her engaging personality. Small wonder! It’s thanks to her that the small town of Merano became famous throughout Europe as a climatic health resort at the end of the 19th century.

In 1870, Sissi (as she is called today) arrived in Merano for the very first time along with her daughters: 14-year-old Gisela and the two-year-old Valerie. Their stay at the Trauttmansdorff Castle above Merano was intended to restore the vigour of sickly Valerie. The rooms of the castle were splendidly furnished and renovated especially for her. When the health of the girl improved just a few weeks later, the Viennese newspapers reported on Merano's mild, healthy climate. This ignited a true travel boom to the region.

For aristocrats and the wealthy, Trauttmansdorff Castle soon became a sought-after and always fully booked accommodation. Today, the castle is home to the Touriseum, an interactive museum that exposes guests to 200 years of Tyrolean tourism history in a fun way.

Around Trauttmansdorff Castle, garden landscapes from all over the world are in full bloom. The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle are among the most beautiful international excursion destinations. In 1908, a three-metre bench made of white marble was erected in honour of the Empress. To this day, anyone sitting on the “Sissi throne” still enjoys a magnificent view of the mountains.

The Sissi Trail leads from Trauttmansdorff Castle to the city centre in eleven stages. This includes Rubein castle, where a part of the 102-member court was housed in 1870, and Rottenstein castle, where Sissi herself once resided. Along the way, you will pass quiet corners, stately residences, enchanted mansions and old parks. You’ll also stroll through Merano's most beautiful residential quarter, Maia Alta/Obermais.
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The Sommerpromenade or Sissi promenade begins in the “Sissi Park” in the centre of Merano. The park features an elegant, larger-than-life sculpture of the Empress made of Lasa marble. Especially during the year’s warmer months, you can stroll in the cool shade beneath Lebanon cedars, sequoia trees and poplars.

After walking in Sissi's footsteps, you can (in classic Sissi style) simply relax and try, for example, Sissi's organic whey bath offered at the Therme Meran spa. There’s no better way to get "Sissi-soft" skin and to experience intimacy than in an imperial style bath. The high-quality whey protein strengthens the connective tissue and promotes the metabolism. And as you revel in this luxurious treatment, gain insight into how Sissi must have felt during her daily milk baths. In general, the Empress attached great importance to her beauty: her hair reached down to her ankles and she cared for her skin with masks and creams.

During her stay in Merano, Empress Sissi bathed at Bad Egart in Parcines/Partschins, the oldest baths in Tyrol. Today the baths are home to the Bad Egart K. u. K. (Imperial) Museum, which boasts the world’s largest private Habsburg collection as curated by Uncle Taa. Uncle Taa, whose civil name is Karl Platino, is an extraordinary personality. In fact, such praise is likely an understatement for such a prolific artist, sculptor and collector. The first two rooms of the museum are dedicated to the history of the Habsburgs and feature a unique collection from the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth. Here you can also view an authentic glove worn by the empress. By the way, this is also a fantastic place to dine in style. At the restaurant, guests can sample Sissi's favourite dishes such as Kaiser soup and violet ice cream – and even homegrown vineyard snails are prepared here as they have been for three generations.

Sissi also sought health treatments in the Ultental valley in the quiet and restful Ultental baths. Otto von Bismarck and the author brothers Thomas and Heinrich Mann were guests there, too. Water sourced from the springs in Mitterbad, which contains iron and minerals, is still used today by locals as a cure-all or simply to quench the thirst.
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Sissi-soft skin
Sissi-soft skin
At the Therme Meran spa
Walk like the empress
Walk like the empress
Along the Merano Wandelhalle gallery
Sleep where Sissi once slept
Sleep where Sissi once slept
At the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle
And for those who prefer something more contemporary
And for those who prefer something more contemporary
suitable accommodation for all tastes is available here