Having no knowledge of Innsbruck, sans what I was able to snatch through a quick online search of possible sightseeing spots, I thought the best place to start would be at the home of the most prominent citizens – the Habsburgs; otherwise known as the Kaiser Francis I and Kaiserin Maria Theresa (Emporer and Empress). Built in 1460, the Innsbruck residence of the Imperial couple, is now a museum featuring the incredible elegant luxury of the era of the Empress as it tells the story of a woman who bore 16 children AND ran an empire. Honestly, I think I fell in love with her – who doesn’t love a strong woman!
Empress Maria Theresa Walburga Amelia Christina (1717- 1780) married to (Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor) was the only female ruler of the Austrian Empire, the only woman to sit in on Congressional meetings, and the last of The House of Habsburgs (she inherited the crown from her father Charles VI in 1740). While she only visited the home twice in her life (the last was during the wedding of her son, Maximillian Francis, which was overshadowed by the death of her husband at the same time), Maria Theresa definitely left her impression here. In fact, she left an impression to many; Frederick II of Prussia said of her “That woman’s achievements are that of a great man.”
I was surprised at how distinctly feminist Maria Theresa was and learned during my visit of her home that she insisted on the equality and education of her daughters and Austrian women, decreed financial and educational reforms, promoted commerce and agricultural development, and transformed Austria’s decrepit armed forces, all with an aim to strengthen Austria’s international standing. Think she understood the art of branding?!
Despite only visiting the Hof twice, Maria Theresa was instrumental in it’s design/decoration and it remains today as she envisioned it. Join me for a brief visit, won’t you?