In Greece Sisi can flee to the ancient world. The empress resides in Corfu twice a year until her death – also, but not only, for the good of her health. From Trieste, she travels by ship to her favorite island in the Ionian Sea. The first thing Sisi sees on arrival is the statue of Heinrich Heine, which she has had erected in a columned hall in the forest near the coast. With this act, she reveals her great admiration for the German writer. Between 1889 and 1892, Sisi also commissions construction of a castle in Pompeian style, “Achilleion.”
Her husband Franz Joseph never follows her here. With her Greek tutor, Konstantinos Christomanos, a great admirer of ancient Greece, Sisi becomes not only perfect in the language, but she is also introduced to Greek mythology. The home of mythology becomes the “home of Sisi’s soul.” The ancient world is highly regarded at this time not only by the restless Empress, but is generally quite popular. Classical virtues greatly influence the mature empress’ worldview. Elisabeth especially admires Achilles for his great physical strength and divine beauty. These influences clearly inspire the luxuriously furnished Achilleion with its splendid park. Especially notable are the statues of the nine Muses, which stand along the “terrace of tears” next to the garden. From here, Sisi can also see the monument to her beloved son Rudolph.
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