Palais Strozzi, Vienna:
19th century Palais with Baroque core
Palais Strozzi is one of only very few palais that can be found in the 8th district of Vienna, the Josefstadt. It is home to the customs and finance office for the eight, 16th and 17th district of Vienna and looks like a 19th century building - which, for most parts, it is. There is no real reason why international visitors should be overly interested in Palais Strozzi; the main reason why I was interested myself is simply because I have lived in the area. If you don′t, I recommend you to spend you time doing some sightseeing with more elaborate palaces, there are plenty in Vienna to choose from.
A few words on the history of Palais Strozzi: The first building on the site was a relatively humble chateaux, or rather a little villa that served as a summer residence. It was built for Countess Katharina Strozzi and sat in the middle of a very extensive garden.
The countess was a descendent of the Khenvenhüller family, which still owns fancy castles such as Burg Hochosterwitz in Carinthia. The countess died in 1714 and her nephew Count Johann Ludwig von Khenvenhüller inherited the palais and park. He sold it to Antonio Francesco de Cardona, Archbishop of Valencia and counsellor of Emperor Karl VI. The Archbishop had the original building extended. When he died, he left Palais Strozzi to the Emperor.
Palais Strozzi: One of Vienna's Many less important Palaces
Karl′s daughter Empress Maria Theresia gave Palais Strozzi to the high-ranking civil servant Count Johann of Chotek, who sub-divided the land of the park and sold it as building land. Count of Chotek kept the palais itself and his family used it until the mid-19th century. In 1840, Palais Strozzi was sold to the public and was transformed into a boarding school for girls. For that purpose, a new floor was added and the whole thing got a new fašade, transforming the impression one can draw from the palace dramatically.
In 1919, the building was used by the city of Vienna as a caring facility for war veterans. In 1940, the "Finanzamt" or customs and finance office moved in and stayed until today. Nothing of the original interiors has been preserved; the fašade of the Baroque core has been renovated between 1995 and 1998. Nevertheless, the over-all impression one can draw from Palais Strozzi is the one of a 19th century Gründerzeit building. Which I dislike.
Attractions nearby are somewhat rare: The 8th district is a very nice one, but a residential area. The Piaristenkirche Maria Treu is a noteworthy exception; so is the Dreifaltigkeitskirche. Note also the nearb Altes AKH and the Theater in der Josefstadt. Walking to Palais Auersperg and Palais Trautson are easily possible.
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