© Mondseer Hochalm © TVB Mondsee-Irsee/Valentin Weinhäupl
Ein Mann und eine Frau laufen lachend die Wiese entlang.

Real moments.


Time Jump

Historical views

Of course, you can simply marvel at them as architectural jewels. But it is more exciting to immerse yourself in the history of the Attersee villas, to fall out of time with and in them.

Gustav Klimt painted the majority of his fifty or so landscape paintings here. Heimito von Doderer put the first page of the "Strudlhofstiege" on paper in the villa of his uncle Richard in Steinbach am Attersee. Gustav Mahler created parts of his 2nd and the entire 3rd symphony in his composer's cottage directly on the lakeshore. As you can see, since around the middle of the 19th century Lake Attersee has not only been a place of longing for well-heeled summer visitors, but also a magnet for greats in the fields of art and literature, a glittering turquoise-blue source of inspiration. Many of the lakeside villas tell stories and histories - of profound discourses on time and of lively celebrations. We visited four historic houses between Seewalchen and Unterach. The villas Orléans and Ransonnet have become the hotels Villa Weiss and Grafengut, the Villa Paulick offers guided tours, and the Villa Polese, a private residence, keeps opening its doors for readings, for example.

Villa Polese

It stands in Jeritzastraße in Unterach, and that already reveals a lot. Because the Czech opera diva Maria Jeritza, the Maria Callas of the early 20th century, also had her villa here. Music was in the air in this corner of Lake Attersee at the turn of the century, because stars like Jeritza naturally attracted their peers. Current owner Sonja Polese often thinks of this: "I live here in a house full of stories. I always imagine the lovely parties where the piano was played, interesting conversations took place and people just enjoyed the summer." In the 1960s, Sonja's late husband ran the villa as a boarding house; today it serves as the centre of her life. But not only in summer, but also in the cold Attersee winters: "I have an agreement with the house and always say: I'll take care of you from the outside, in return you give me shelter in your belly."

© Villa Polese - Red Bull Media House Servus Salzkammergut Mirco Taliercio - Die Geschichte ist in Servus Salzkammergut erschienen
Salon mit Sofa und Sesseln in der Villa Polese in Unterach
© Villa Paulick - Red Bull Media House Servus Salzkammergut Mirco Taliercio - Die Geschichte ist in Servus Salzkammergut erschienen
Musikzimmer mit Flügel in der Villa Paulick in Seewalchen

Villa Paulick

One of his favourite places was the old boathouse. There he had set up his telescope and easel and let himself be intoxicated by the play of colours on his deeply bright lake, as he called it, before he entrusted this task to the red wine in the evening at one of the numerous parties. Gustav Klimt was a guest in this villa in Seewalchen for 16 summers from 1900 onwards, which was named after its builder, the imperial and royal master carpenter Friedrich Paulick. In its semi-darkness, one still feels transported to the imperial era.
Not only because the salon is adorned with the magnificent coffered ceiling that decorated the imperial pavilion at the Vienna World's Fair in 1873. The spirit of the summer retreat from Klimt's time still lives here; and anyone who wants to rent a room here has to go on a waiting list if they are not a regular guest. But during guided tours or cultural events, you can breathe this spirit even without a room key.

Villa Paulick

Villa White

After the abolition of the monarchy in Brazil in 1889, Dom Pedro de Orléans e Bragança, grandson of the last Emperor Pedro II, did not succeed in attaining the imperial throne. To this end, he had a magnificent hunting lodge built on the Schlossberg in the municipality of Attersee in 1926 - the Villa Orléans, today Villa Weiss.
Noble guests from all over the world came and went here and were invited by the master of the house to hunt in the Hell Mountains. Then came the war, and the house became a home for the disabled and then refugee accommodation. In 2016, the Weiss family from Salzburg bought the villa, which is steeped in history, and has been running it as a boutique hotel since it was renovated. And whenever the function rooms are filled with life at an opulent dinner or event, Dom Pedro would probably be delighted with what the house has become.

Villa White
© Villa Weiss - Red Bull Media House Servus Salzkammergut Mirco Taliercio - Die Geschichte ist in Servus Salzkammergut erschienen
Speisezimmer mit Esstisch in der Villa Weiss in Attersee
© Grafengut - Red Bull Media House Servus Salzkammergut Mirco Taliercio - Die Geschichte ist in Servus Salzkammergut erschienen
Bunte Möbel, Kunstwerke und Skulpturen im Grafengut in Nußdorf



TEXT: Wolfgang Maria Gran PHOTOS: Mirco Taliercio

Text & photos have been published in Servus Salzkammergut Magazin 2021.

The Count's Estate

Even if the villa is no longer named after him, the legacy of the original owner Eugen Freiherr Ransonnet-Villez lives on here. From one of his world travels, the diplomat and naturalist brought back six giant trees of life for his wife, daughters and himself and planted them in the 3,000-square-metre park of the house built in 1871. Over the course of 150 years, the trunks intertwined in such a way that today they look like one - which means that something of Ransonnet will remain in the Count's estate forever. The current tenant Christian Ebner has converted the house into a modern seminar hotel that plays with the charm of the past - for example, when the original holy water basin above the bedside table still protrudes from the wall in the former house chapel, which has been converted into a wedding suite. Special recommendation: the delicious breakfast on the lakeside terrace.

The Count's Estate