Gilded Ambition: a Tour of Schönbrunn Palace

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
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Jul 23, 2014 / 0 comments

Context, organizer of critically acclaimed walking tours, expands its program in Vienna with Gilded Ambition: a Tour of Schönbrunn Palace, a walk within the spectacular interiors of the Habsburgs’ summer residence and a close consideration of the interwoven history of the Habsburg Monarchy.

Gilded Ambition: a Tour of Schönbrunn Palace


Built at the end of the 17th century by Emperor Leopold I, Schönbrunn Palace is situated within an expanse of glorious gardens, and home to almost 1500 exquisitely preserved rooms, many of which are open to the public. The palace provides a unique platform for understanding a complex history, and exploring the lives and loves of a long line of Habsburg monarchs. Each room is adorned with ancient artwork and fine furnishings that reveal an intricate and compelling storyline about those who lived there.

Gilded Ambition guides visitors through the lives of successive Habsburg monarchs, uncovering narratives and provoking discussion and consideration of this hugely influential family. Led by a local expert, the 2.5-hour walking seminar goes beyond standard show-and-tell tours, to instill a deeper understanding of the complex narratives and geopolitical influences revealed by the palace and its interior.

The tour also connects the past with the present, revealing how the Habsburgs’ legacy, as manifest in Schönbrunn Palace, continues to speak to modern day Vienna, its culture, its people and their outlook.

“Schönbrunn Palace is Austria’s most popular tourist attraction, yet we wanted to create a unique way to experience it.” says Natalie Holmes, Context’s Central Europe manager and co-creator of the tour. “The tour joins the dots between this magnificent monument, its complex historical significance, and its modern-day legacy.”

Gilded Ambition: a Tour of Schönbrunn Palace lasts 2 and a half hours and is available daily. Group walks cost €65 per person, plus €14.50 (adult), €8.50 (child 6-18) for palace entry. Private tours cost €280 per party. As with all Context walking seminars, groups are led by a credentialed expert and limited to six (6) people maximum.

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Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and designer Lani Bevacqua, Context Travel is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals, including art historians, writers, architects and gastronomes, who organize and lead “walking seminars” in twenty-one world cities, including: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Istanbul, Athens, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, and Kyoto.

A certified B Corporation, Context was named one of the fastest growing American companies in 2011 and 2012 by Inc Magazine. Travel + Leisure has called Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs. To learn more about Context, visit:




Photo courtesy and copyright Context Travel, used with permission