Southbound, to the Austrian Riviera: The Habsburg Patronage of Tourism in the Eastern Adriatic

  • Bojan Baskar University of Ljubljana
Keywords: Aristocracy, Habsburgs, tourism, aristocratic patronage of tourism, Eastern Adriatic, Dalmatia, the Mediterranean


Anthropologists writing on the beginnings of mass tourism in Europe have tended to overlook the key role played by the European aristocracies in the early development of tourism. This paper is a contribution to the historical anthropological study of the role of aristocracy in inventing and promoting seaside bathing resorts, by studying the case of the Habsburg patronage in the Eastern Adriatic. The Habsburgs produced a series of interesting personalities (typically archdukes and archduchesses) who, from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, shared an interest in the ‘Austrian Riviera’ and strived to develop an Austrian counterpart to other prominent Mediterranean rivieras and resorts. Their efforts typically consisted of inventing seaside destinations and connecting them to the supranational networks of cosmopolitan places, encouraging tourist infrastructure development, launching/promoting local arts and crafts, and initiating measures of cultural and natural heritage preservation.