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BESPOKE VIENNA - AN ARTIST FOR ARTISSIMI
20.9.2021 by Elisabeth Wolf
As you know, all of us from Artissimi love to work with the best photographers, musicians, artists, chefs, hotels and shop owners – and are always honoured to have the chance to do so.
As you can imagine, having the chance to have our own card designed by a hugely talented artist was an offer we just couldn't refuse. We found Viola Li, 23 years young, online. After contacting Viola, we came up with an idea which became our first card motive: an image of the famous Empress Sisi – transported into the year 2021. What would Sisi do today, we wondered? Would she be an influencer? Would she shop online? How exactly would she dress? One thing is for sure: she would be wearing make-up – a complete no-go in her day. Designing our card, we try to take a look over Sisi's shoulder and into her world, and possibly even envy her with her stunning hair, woven through with those amazing diamond stars (which can even be bought at the jeweller A.E. Köchert nowadays).
If you would like to have one of our unique new cards for yourself, let us know, and we'll be more than happy to pop one in the mail for you. In the meantime, you can follow our blog and our activities online if you would like to learn more about Artissimi and its special way of experiencing the Austrian capital and its history! 
Here at Artissimi, our raison d'étre is "Let's go and explore Vienna!". We live to help our guests to truly experience new spaces and to feel and breathe history rather than simply gaze at a screen. We would like them to immerse themselves in the smells and sounds of such a unique destination in a way that will stay with them forever.
We are looking forward to showing you the very best sides of Vienna in person once again.
Until then, Herzliche Grüße from Vienna!
Elisabeth Wolf
Managing Owner
Photograph: Viola Li and Elisabeth Wolf, Artissimi


PALACES AND COFFEE HOUSES
September 2021 by Elisabeth Wolf 
 ‟I’d rather take a coffee than compliments just now.
Louisa May Alcott
The delicious tradition we know and love as ‟Viennese Coffee House Culture” has been listed as part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2011. Stefan Zweig once described the Viennese Coffee House as an ‟institution of a special kind”, and Peter Altenberg even had his mail delivered to his local café.
Palaces were equally important in the past, of course. When the Habsburg Empire was at its height, every noble family had to have one, ideally very close to the Emperor’s home. One might bump into the Emperor himself, by useful accident…
Join us on a guided tour of Vienna’s old town district, and hear about the literature and music inspired by the coffee house, Apfelstrudel and melange, the origins of the Schanigarten, Punschkrapfen and more. Take a walk along the beautiful Herrengasse, where palaces and coffee houses battle for much sought-after space to this day. As you go, learn about when a women was finally allowed to ‟be” at a coffee house, and how many newspapers Café Central had in the past.
And do you know why one notable café had to have an encyclopaedia as well as the daily papers? Join us to find out!
I would rather suffer with coffee than be senseless.
Napoleon Bonaparte

Photograph: Claudia Blake Photography

TRAVELLING IN STYLE
September 2021 by Elisabeth Wolf
TRAVELLING IN STYLE is the name of the classy magazine published by luxury hotel group Kempinski. And it certainly lives up to its name!
It was a very special pleasure and honour for me to tour some of Vienna's most beautiful spaces during lockdown recently with the magazine's publisher Antoine Gauvin and the world-famous photographer Claes Bech Poulsen. We pulled out all the stops, of course, doors opened for us along the way, and the programme even included a private organ recital. But don't take my word for it - check out the results for yourself... In the 22-page Vienna Special, highlighting the personalities, special sites, the Palais Hansen Kempinski am Ring hotel - and plenty of music, of course!  Cover: A trumpet dating back to 1598, which can be seen in our Collection of Historic Musical Instruments at the Neue Burg. Have you checked out this museum yet?
My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who made this possible!
Happy reading... ONLINE MAGAZIE HERE
Best regards from all of us,
Elisabeth Wolf
Foto: Cover of the latest issue of Travelling in Style magazine by Kempinski Hotels

WHAT'S GOING ON IN VIENNA
July 25th, 2021 by Elisabeth Wolf
We are so happy to be truly back in action for you again!

Pretty well everything is now permitted again (other than what was forbidden before anyway!).
We can tour the sights, take a peek behind the scenes at Vienna`s cultural institutions, and visit the Opera, Musikverein and the capital's great museums. And the best part of it? Although a new normal has begun to return, the crowds of tourists haven't!
We've not been resting on our laurels over the past eighteen months, however – far from it, in fact!
We've been using our downtime to get in better shape than ever before, freshening up our minds with training sessions and reading, working on new tours, sending out offers of upcoming events to our private guests – and most importantly, of course, beginning to host those tours once again with our guests. Many of these are from Austria and neighbouring countries, and we're confident that guests from all four corners of the world are going to start visiting Vienna from this autumn onwards.
As for this summer, we can highly recommend that you come and visit Vienna!
The capital has a host of new restaurants and coffee houses with open spaces on offer. Should the summer heat become too much, the Danube is always worth a dip – and if you've forgotten your swimming costume, Vienna is world-famous for its delicious ice cream.
A few of my top tips for your Viennese visit…
Please let us know if there's anything we can help you with – and in the meantime, have a
happy summer and "Auf Wiedersehen!
Yours sincerely,
Elisabeth Wolf
Managing Owner
Photograph: Rooftop Lamée, Claudia Blake Photography 

1000 REASONS TO LOVE VIENNA
March 4th, 2021 by Elisabeth Wolf
2020 was an amazing experience full of new topics and challenges. It was a pleasure to produce our first videos for international clients on Vienna of course, be a few times at the national radio and even television. On an occasion we even went live with a national TV station at 6am in the morning, what an excitement! Finally I was asked to write an article on why the first district in Vienna is so special. Here we go, I love to share it with you!
We are looking very much forward to having you soon!
Meanwhile we make sure that Vienna will be even more special when you will be back!
"ALLES GUTE" and "AUF WIEDERSEHEN"
Elisabeth Wolf
Managing Owner 
Foto: Claudia Blake Photography courtesy KHM Museumsverband

THE VIENNA MUSIC EXPERIENCE
20.10.2020 from Elisabeth Wolf
Are you one of the millions of passionate fans of classical music around the world who has often wondered how and why Vienna became the unmatched world capital of great musical art over the centuries? Have you heard the story of the leading composer who was an equally talented artist? Or that several members of the Austrian imperial royal family were also highly-regarded composers? 

If hearing these stories (and many others) told by friendly and knowledgeable expert guides, in the company of like-minded individuals from around the world, while making your way through the Austrian capital’s winding cobbled lanes, back alleys and quiet squares – the spaces where those sounds and techniques evolved down the centuries – sounds like a recipe for your perfect cultural and musical mix, then read on!

Our tour begins at the Vienna State Opera, one of the world’s truly great opera houses, with fascinating history (and perfect acoustics) oozing out of its every nook and cranny. The State Opera first opened its doors in 1869 with a performance of Mozart’s Don Juan(Don Giovanni). Musical sightseeing will be very much the order of the day, accompanied by myriad stories of famous (and less well-known) musicians including Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonio Salieri, Pietro Metastasio, Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, Gustav Mahler, Johann Strauss and others – all of whom lived and worked in Vienna during their careers.

The Jesuit Church is widely viewed as one of the most beautiful churches in the Austrian capital. A true Baroque highlight, the building provides a breathtaking backdrop to a presentation by much-admired international organist Peter Frisée

As anyone fortunate enough to have attended one of Artissimi’s beautifully designed high-end tours over the years will tell you, there is nothing we enjoy more than to show you sides of Vienna and its rich history the untrained eye would never see – the great city’s hidden treasures. With this founding principle in mind, we will be taking the church’s old stairs up to the Organ Loft, before sitting back, closing our eyes and allowing the exhilarating organ performance to wash over us. The organ itself is a fabulous French concert organ – one of the best in use anywhere in modern Vienna. More exciting still, we will be seated high up in the Baroque heavens. Finally, to bring the day to a fitting end, we shall have the rare opportunity to attend a private organ concert inside the church. 
 
Jesuit Church, Vienna
Built between 1623 and 1627, and subsequently redecorated by Brother Andrea del Pozzo in 1703, the Jesuit Church is often cited as one of the most beautiful places of worship anywhere in the capital. Despite its simple external façade, the church’s interior is rich in allegorical ceiling frescos, many using trompe l’oeiltechniques. The Jesuit Church is a famous location for both live concerts and art presentations, and a lively part of the Viennese cultural mix; the church’s breathtaking beauty means it remains a huge favourite amongst young Viennese tying the knot.

Peter Frisée, Organist
Born in Graz, Peter Frisée studied under Ernst Triebel, Michael Kapsner and Roman Summereder. Since graduating with honours, he has complemented this training with a range of courses and master classes. Frisée has won prizes in a series of international competitions, worked as the organist at Vienna’s Erlöserkirche (Church of the Redeemer) Am Schüttel, and held the office of Choirmaster for the Deanery of the Second District of Vienna since 2004. Frisée launched Graz’s Mariatrost Organ Festival, founded the Culture at the Prater series, and began his continuing activities for the Concilium musicum Vienna and the Haydn Society of Vienna in 2008. He used to work as consultant for church music of the Archdiocese of Vienna, and has been artistic director of The Organ Festival in Vienna since 2012. Frisée’s activities are rounded off by concerts as a soloist and ensemble musician on both organ and harpsichord in Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Far East, alongside teaching work, publications and productions on recording media, television and radio. Frisée also works as a presenter for cultural trips and on Radio Klassik Stephansdom ("Orgel City Vienna”). 
 
Elisabeth Wolf, Owning Manager, Artissimi
The founder of Artissimi, Elisabeth has always been fascinated by the great city of Vienna and its beauty. She loves rediscovering new elements of her home city, and delights in creating unique programmes for her high-end clientele from all four corners of the world (as well as Austria and Vienna itself, of course). Elisabeth has many years’ experience of the international 5-star hotel scene, making her the perfect host for high-end luxury guests wishing to enjoy and discover the arts that speak to them in the company of like-minded professional lovers of the high arts. Elisabeth specialises in creating bespoke programmes, and speaks fluent English, Italian, French and German.
 
Artissimi crafts professionally tailored, bespoke tours and programmes exploring the cultural themes that made Vienna a cultural melting pot down the centuries in intimate, occasionally shocking, but always thrilling detail. 

Price:
Available upon request, depending on the programme, duration and other details, as well as the number of persons taking part.
No more than 18 persons per group, Headsets provided on all tours
Photograph: Jesuit Chruch Vienna, Claudia Blake Photography


BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS by Elisabeth Wolf
Summer 2019
Summer is my favorite month to read! I personally fancy books related to my holiday locations and of course about my passions: art, music, history and Vienna. Please find my personal reading list and don't hesitate to let me know what you think!
Happy summer!
Yours sincerely,
Elisabeth Wolf
BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS PDF
Photograph: Melk Abbey, copyright Artissimi

BOOKS AND FILMS
After the most beautiful tour with highlights at the Upper Belvedere including paintings of Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka and a walk through the superb baroque gardens, here some of my favourite books and films related to the theme:

Books:
  • "Good Living Street" by Tim Bonyhady written in English, in German the title is "Wohllebengasse"
  • all publications of the Belvedere Museum, they usually come in English and are sold in the museum shops as well as some bookstores.
Films:
  • "A little Chaos" with Kate Winslet, British period drama film by and with Alan Rickman on baroque gardening, I loved it!
  • "Vatel", French-British historical drama on how to make a party for the French King with Gérard Depardieu and Uma Thurman
  • "The Woman in Gold" with Helen Mirren, drama on the Klimt painting "Adele Bloch Bauer" and its restitution
    Photograph: Claudia Blake Photography courtesy Belvedere

WINNER OF "GOLDENE JETTI"
Summer 2018
Artissimi's huge commitment to the city's variety of artistic treasures and the lovingly-crafted stories Elisabeth Wolf loves passing on to interested participants were recognised in 2018, when the Austrian Chamber of Commerece awarded the Artissimi founder the "Goldene Jetti 2018" in recognition of the innovative, creative, unusual and cleverly implemented concepts the successful businesswomen uses to fundamentally enrich the quality of life of people in Vienna as well as its guests.
"I love what I do. I feel like a host welcoming guests to Vienna! Elisabeth Wolf
Photograph: Claudia Blake Photography


A CULTURAL AUTUMN FOR STUDENTS IN VIENNA by Johanna Wallner
You are a student and ask yourself what to do during autumn season in Vienna? Before you get too cozy inside your warm room, read my suggestions and get out there to not miss these exhibitions, festivals and more.

FESTIVALS
Viennale 2018 (25.10. - 08.11.18)
The international film festival will take place in Vienna's unique cinemas (Gartenbaukino, Metro Kinohaus, Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus und Urania Kino). The program includes not just all kinds of movies but also talks and discussion, parties and concerts. Tickets are available online, or at the Gartenbaukino and Metro Kinohaus. For more information: www.viennale.at/

Vienna Art Week (19.11. - 25.11.18)
The motto of the Vienna Art Week 2018 is "Promising Paradise". The program with about 200 events includes everything from classic to modern art in exhibtions, talks, films and performances. A lot of famous museums of the city open their doors to show a very diverse art program for everybody who is interested. For more information: 2018.viennaartweek.at/en/

Fesch'Markt Vienna 2018 (16.11. - 18.11.18)
On a November weekend the 17th Fesch'Markt will take place at the Ottakringer Brauerei. More than 220 young artists and designers of the field of accessories, furniture, clothing and food will present and sell their unique products. Tickets: € 4 for three days.
For more information: www.feschmarkt.info/feschevents/#feschmarkt-wien-17

EXHIBITIONS
Photo/Politics/Austria @ MUMOK
Until February 3rd, 2019 you will have the chance to learn more about Austrian history from 1918 until today at the museum of modern arts. The exhibition tries to visualize special events and situations with collected press photographs, interventions, newspaper cuttings, posters and film stills as "head pictures". For more information: www.mumok.at/en/events/photopoliticsaustria

Antarctica. An Exhibition on Alienation. @ Kunsthalle Wien
Until February 17th, 2019 this exhibition presents the sociological discussion about the alienation of man from society through individualization, alienation from nature through urbanization and alienation from work through mechanization. By showing different contemporary artworks the topic will take you through history until present days. For more information: kunsthallewien.at/#/en/exhibitions/antarctica-exhibition-alienation

Veiled, Unvieled! The Headscarf. @ Weltmuseum 
Until February 26th, 2019 the widely discussed headscarf will be the main topic in this exhibition. While traveling through time the headscarf will be presented in different countries and cultures with the hope of expanding your opinion through new aspects about it.
For more information: www.weltmuseumwien.at/en/exhibitions/veiled-unveiled/#about-the-exhibition
Vienna, November 2018
Photograph: Claudia Blake Photography

ARE YOU READY FOR OTTO WAGNER?
Finally spring is in the air and we can't wait to go on an Otto Wagner (1841-1918) tour with you. To celebrate this pioneer who left many traces in and around Vienna, Artissimi prepared a special Otto Wagner walk for you. This will include Postsparkasse, Karlsplatz and of course the colourful houses on Wienzeile. For your individual tour please contact us!
elisabeth@artissimi.at
Meanwhile happy spring,
yours sincerely,
Elisabeth Wolf 
Photograph: copyright artissimi

PICASSO IN MARSEILLE, SOUTHERN FRANCE
Most amazing Picasso exhibition in Marseille, Southern France at the new MUCEM museum, an architectonical masterpiece by Rudy Riciotti directly at the sea combined with the old "Fort Saint-Jean" dating back Luis XIV. Plan half a day to see not only the exhibition but also to explore the whole museum site and have a stop in one of the excellent restaurants on top with view over the bay, it is simply wow!
"Picasso et les arts et traditions populaires" at www.mucem.org

IN MUNICH
For the first time in Gemany the Kunsthalle München shows an amazing, comprehensive retrospective by Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923), Spain's "master of light". Katrin loved it!
Until July 3rd, 2016, daily 10.00 - 20.00,  www.kunsthalle-muc.de

REVIEW .... JEWISH VIENNA
Time flew by as we were walking with charming and knowledgeable Gerti Schmidt: we loved her lecturing and entertaining us with anecdotes about history, artists, millionaires, memorials and jewish life in Vienna today. Thank you Gerti we are looking forward to another tour with you!

Reading list:
Frederic Morton:  The Forever Street
Tim Bonyhady:    The Good Living Street

REVIEW: THE NATIONAL LIBRARY
"GOLDEN TIMES, PAPYRUS AND 4 MILLION BOOKS…
Also Artissimi's 7th tour was exciting! We were all fascinated by the exhibition "Golden Times" at the Prunksaal of the National Library seeing masterpieces of manuscripts, incunabula and prints all of within a period of 200 years. Each participant probably found a favorite piece. Afterwards, the English group had the chance to visit the modern library guided by the most charming Frau Mag. Tanzberger, who not only showed us some parts of the back office but also took us to the storage rooms. As parts of these are closed on weekends, the Saturday group visited the unique Papyrus Museum guided by the most professional Mag. Resel. We were all amused about the fact that the Egyptians even had to do a tax declaration…on papyrus of course!
A vast program, after which some of us got energy back at the most delicious "Café Demel".
Last chance to see the wonderful exhibition "Golden Times",  until February 21st, 2016, TUE-SUN, 10.00-18.00, THUR until 21.00 at the Prunksaal, Josefsplatz 1, www.onb.ac.at

A few hints on the subject, go online and find:
*) The most amazing libraries in the world (including 3 in Austria!)
http://www.placestoseeinyourlifetime.com/31-incredible-libraries-and-bookstores-around-the-world-17220/
*) 17 Bookstores, which will change your life
http://www.buzzfeed.com/erinlarosa/bookstores-that-will-literally-change-your-life#.keOVnBjY2
And one more thing:
Welttag der Fremdenführer: www.welttag.at
February 21st, 2016, 09.30-16.00
Free guided tours (also in English) and children's tours in and around the Natural History Museum, Vienna

Artissimi with hints and news at facebook/kultouren

REVIEW: VALENTINE AND VIRGIL
This was an exciting tour in and around St. Stephan's Cathedral. We travelled back to the year 1200, we saw beautifully presented St. Valentine's in his gilded glass casket, we climbed up an 800 year old spiral stair and also went down to the recently reopened chapel of St. Virgil. We discussed artwork, penance, minstrel songs and politics of our early rulers.

Reading List:
J. Le Goff: "The Birth of Europe"
Thomas Mann: "The Holy Sinner"
Régine Pernoud: "Eleonore of Aquitaine" and "Heloise and Abaelard"

LET'S GO ART AND HISTORY...
Katrin and Elisabeth's history and art favorites for the start of the New Year:
  • "OOOM", the newest magazine in Austria. Number 00 is out just now and amazing! Very inspiring and full of unusual articles and pictures. Interesting: no ads in the very first issue, EXTRAORDINARY!
  • Our favorite exhibition in London: Alexander Calder: "Performing Sculpture", Tate Modern until April 3rd, 2016,  http://www.tate.org.uk
    (
    see picture)
  • Our favorite exhibition in Vienna: "The Women of Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka", unique paintings from all over the world until February 28th, 2016 at Unteres Belvedere, www.belvedere.at
  • Most interesting website on Austrian history also in English: www.habsburger.net
  • Amazing book on Germany's history: "Germany, Memories of a Nation", by Neil MacGregor, General Manager of the British Museum in London. The history of the Holy Roman Empire referring to their achievements such as Meissen porcelain or personalties such as Bismarck.
  • Unusual: For cat lovers: "Ulrike Müller" exhibition at MUMOK Vienna until January 31st, 2016,  www.mumok.at  followed by the only cat café in Vienna, Café Neko", 1010 Vienna, Blumenstockgasse 5, www.cafeneko.at     
  • ...and many more ideas on Katrins blog:  www.katringuide.blogspot.com

REVIEW… A RUSH OF COLOUR AND ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS TIME
What a wonderful walk through Neubau, Vienna's 7th district. Lucky as we were we saw some hidden courtyards. After so much fresh air we all were energized and continued with the most amazing masterpieces of German Expressionism in a large-scale exhibition at Leopold Museum. Finally we had a chat at Café Leopold and looked back to the most successful tours of Artissimi.
We all agreed: what a fantastic experience for all of us! 
If you have not seen "Farbenrausch" don't miss it: until January 11th, 2016 at www.leopoldmuseum.org

REVIEW… VISIT ARTIST'S WORKSHOP
In November we visited Lucia Riccelli, the Roman painter and dancer in her amazing workshop! We had the great chance to see new and unfinished works. We got to know Lucia's ideas about art, her career, her passion, her topics and her visions. Each morning was unique and very inspiring. After the visit we walked along Gumpendorfer Strasse and continued our chats on art with Lucia in a nearby restaurant. What an exciting morning! 
www.luciariccelli.com
B
ooks: "Colour" by Victoria Finlay

ON PHOTOGRAPHY
Everybody loved the photo tour and we thank all of you for sending us your pictures!
If you want to see more of street photography: the Joel Meyerowitz exhibit is on until November 1st, 2015.
There is an exhibit with pictures from Elliott Erwitt on the upper floor of the Leica Shop in Walfischgasse 1 (near the Opera) until January 2nd, 2016 (free entrance).
Reading corner:
Susan Sontag: "On photography"
Roland Barthes: "Camera lucida"
Joel Meyerowitz‘ blog: http://oncemorearoundthesun.com

ARTISSIMI'S FIRST TOURS
We are delighted about a series of highlights during our first tours! Our favorite feedback is:"Thank you for inventing Artissimi" and "…this is the best gift I have made to myself ever…" Thank you so much for your wonderful comments.
Please find here some of our favorite reads which are all about Vienna's history. All of these books were written originally in English: 

1) "Good Living Street", Tim Bonyhady, the history of the Gallia family who lived in Wohllebengasse in Vienna
2) "The Exiles Return" by Elisabeth de Waal
3) and finally if you have not read it already "The Hare with the Amber Eyes", by Edmund de Waal, the history of the Ephrussi family.

Artissimi is now also on Facebook.
Please find us at https://www.facebook.com/kultouren
with regular hints, lovely pictures and "Did you know…?"

While the Artissimi group for Thursday is fully booked, we are still available for "late bookers" on Saturdays (German) and Tuesdays (English). For Fridays there is a waiting list (German). Please contact us at office@artissimi.at or 0664 26 42 042
Enjoy the "Kulturherbst" and thank you for your interest,
yours sincerely Elisabeth & Katrin

ART AT ITS BEST
THE coolest place to check out in the art world at the moment is the new Fondazione Prada in Milan. The former distillery for "Schnaps" had a total refurbishment planned by Prada architect Rem Koolhaas and shows many of Miuccia Prada's pieces of art in a new way. An experience, you should book the sooner the better! Plan lots of time to go to "Bar Luce" on the premises. Indulge in a word on its own, the Italy of the fifties with flippers and lovely colors, Cappuccino or Campari, and enjoy the view to the new landmark of the museum's world: the golden tower! www.fondazioneprada.com 

ARTISSIMI OPENING
The very first Artissimi walk took place with a fine group of 20 in the beginning of June and was a big success! The rose garden (Volksgarten) was at its best, the fountains indeed very refreshing given the delightful weather. We all enjoyed the tour including the biggest pop art collection outside of America with its finest art works at the exhibition "Ludwig Goes Pop".

We would sincerely like to thank Karola Kraus, Direcor of MUMOK Vienna on her fine introduction about the collection and welcome her to be Artissimi's first official partner!

Don't miss the exhibition which can be indeed very refreshing on a hot summer day, until September 13th, 2015 at MUMOK Vienna www.mumok.at