Palais Ferstel, Vienna

restored ceiling boss and stenciling, Palais Ferstel, Vienna
While visiting Vienna in 1993 I spontaneously stumbled into a maze of arcades with beautiful groin vaults, 19th century ironwork skylights and some memorable stenciling. When I found my way out I jotted down the name of the building, Palais Harrach.
shopping arcade in the former Palais Ferstel
This was not entirely accurate. On a more recent visit I sought out the newly restored Cafe Central and found myself wandering around a 19th century villa that had been beautifully decorated and converted to a commercial space, and found that this romantic revival gem was indeed the Palais Ferstel. The palace was designed in the 1860s by architect Heinrich von Ferstel, inspired by his many travels in Italy. It became a bank and stock exchange, and like many buildings in Vienna, was badly damaged in WWII. In the 1980s it was completely renovated and now houses elegant shops and galleries, and features a fabulous ballroom for events. It's sort of rafted together with the lower level of the baroque Palais Harrach, and  these passages makes a nice little detour through the Freyung area.  
detail from the Palais Ferstel vaulted ceilings
This ornament is very interesting to me because though it follows all the rules and placement of Gothic ornament, it seems to me neither Gothic nor Italian in style or color, which I suppose is often the case in revival styles. Nevertheless the repetition of the ivy leaf motif in so many of the painted  borders and the cohesive scheme of olive, plum, and ochre makes for a nice atmosphere.

You can find more photos of this lovely place by searching on flickr.

all photos in this post by Lynne Rutter, Vienna, 2008
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Looking up

ceiling detail in the Vatican Palace  photo by Lynne Rutter
Beautifully painted detail of a massive trompe l'oeil ceiling with gilt backgrounds,  painted by Ludwig Seitz in 1883-7  for Pope Leo XIII, Galleria dei Candelabri, one of the upper galleries of the Vatican Museum.  

Agoraphobe's tip:  queues to visit the Vatican Museums can be epic, but this is one of the few places that does not close for lunch.  Arrive right at noon and you can walk right in and enjoy a calm stroll through a beautifully empty palace.

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more about this room at Idle Speculations