Abbazia was one of the favorite winter destinations amongst Vienna´s wealthy and famous. Known as the "Austrian Riviera" located on Adriatic Sea near the cities of Trieste, Rijeka, and Split in the late 19th century, Abbazia (today´s Opatija, Croatia) was populated by family holiday makers and patients in need of seaside air to be cured from pneumonia, a widespread epidemic that plagued people at the time. Wien Museum Karlsplatz looks back at this seaside city and its turn-of-the-century ways of making holiday and relaxing from its collection of advertising materials and photographs. The Austrian Riviera - Vienna Discovers the Seaside is on view until March 30th, 2014.
The term "Riviera" probably began to be used in the context of health tourism. Meteorological measurements had shown that the region's climate resembles that of the French Riviera. The common topographical features of the two regions are steep cliffs along the coastline, climate-regulating forests, evergreen shrubs and exotic plants, such as eucalyptus and mimosas. "Abbazia South Beach" painted by Erwin Pendl, 1911, color print after a watercolor. Samsinger Collection, Vienna.
The classicist hotels, promenades and parks of the posh resort attracted members of the royal family, nobility from all over Europe and other wealthy patrons. "In Front of the Hotel Quarnero" painted by Stephanie Glax, 1906, Private Collection, Vienna.
There were also less glamorous towns where more modest guest-houses – albeit with grand names – tried to woo visitors. A more differentiated tourism market evolved: while Abbazia was best known as a winter health resort, Grado's flat and sandy beaches turned it into a summer holiday destination for families. Family Holiday in Grado, 1912, photo postcard, Peter König Collection, Vienna.
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