Vienna was the home of the Liechtenstein Princely Family for generations until the Anschluss (annexing of Austria into Nazi Germany) of 1938 forced them back to their tiny mountain principality between Switzerland and Austria. The family left behind not one but two palaces full of treasures.
After decades of gathering dust, Prince Hans-Adam II's private collection of artwork, showcasing masterpieces from the 16th to the 19th centuries, was transferred back to Vienna and installed into the fabulously ornate Garden Palace.
The Princely Collections make up one of the most valuable and important private art collections on earth. Highlights include the highly elaborate and inlaid 16th-century Badminton Cabinet and a number of Renaissance and Baroque works, including no less than 30 paintings by Flemish artist Pieter Paul Rubens. You'll also find pieces by Franz Hals, Anthony Van Dyck, Rembrandt, and Raphael. An ornate carriage, gilded and adorned with painted side-panels of cherubim painted in the workshops of Boucher, was made by Parisian craftsman Nicholas Pineau in 1738, and is a rare survivor of the French Revolution.
The architecture of the Garden Palace is a highlight itself, with opulently frescoed apartments frothily decorated by the Austrian Baroque master Johann Michael Rottmayr and complemented with sweeping marble staircases and ceiling paintings by Andrea Pozzo.
Rather confusingly, there are two Liechtenstein palaces in Vienna, and the Liechtenstein Garden Palace should not be confused with the newly revamped architectural jewel that is the City Palace, found on Bankgasse in the center of the city. The Garden Palace can be found in the Liechtensteinpark, off Fürstengasse to the north of the Ringstrasse. It’s accessible by public transport from the city center. The apalce is only open by prior booking for guided tours or special events.