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A Brief History of Mozart in Vienna

Fall in love with note-perfect Vienna, a city with musical heritage at its heart

Every once in a while, something happens which alters the fortunes of people and place – instilling a renewed sense of culture, heritage and identity. Such was the case for Vienna, Austria’s illustrious capital, when Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart chose to make the city his home in the 18th century.

Listed among the foremost composers, musicians and artists of all time, Mozart spent much of his short life living and working in Vienna. Born in Salzburg, the young prodigy made the Austrian capital his primary home, as well as his final resting place.

Today, Vienna lives and breathes for Mozart, whose legacy is evident from Schönnbrunn Palace to the Ringstrasse. Join Scenic on the waters of the Danube, and you’ll have the chance to uncover the history of Mozart throughout the city, with special tours and private concerts offering remarkable insight into his life and times.

To inspire your Danube river cruise, here we introduce a brief history of Mozart and his Vienna.

Exploring Mozart's Legacy in Vienna

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While Mozart is linked to several European cities – most prominently Salzburg and Prague – Vienna is without question the place where his legacy is most entrenched. The Austrian capital inspired the young prodigy’s most creative and prodigious works, and it was here where he chose to build a life with his wife Constanze Weber and their six children.

Mozart’s relationship with Vienna began in 1762, when the Mozart children were invited to perform for Maria Theresia at the extraordinary Schönnbrunn Palace. Aged just five at the time, Mozart’s talent was plain to see, and the experience was the beginning of an extraordinary career – and a life-long love affair with the Viennese way of life.

In 1781, Mozart returned to Vienna aged 25, marrying Constanze Weber a year later at the beautiful St Stephen’s Cathedral. Reaching the peak of his career around 1790, the composer lived and worked in many buildings across the city, and performed regularly in such venues as the Schönnbrunn Palace, Imperial Palace and the Grand Hall of the National Library.

Mozart died aged 35 on December 5, 1791, just days after completing his timeless masterpiece, Requiem. His final resting place is the Cemetery of St Marx, though his grave is unmarked, as was the custom in Austria at the time.

Today, Mozart lives on in Vienna, with countless attractions celebrating the life and times of this musical icon. From a private concert at Palais Liechtenstein to a guided tour of buildings and sites linked to the composer, Scenic can help you unearth the legacy of Mozart in the Austrian capital.

The Life and Times of Mozart

From his birth in Salzburg in 1756 to his tragic death some 35 years later in 1791, Mozart lived an extraordinary life – cementing himself as one of the great musical and cultural icons of the age. Discover the ups, downs, trials and tribulations of Austria’s favorite son in our interactive timeline.

Tracing Mozart's Footsteps in Vienna

Discover the homes and heritage sites where Mozart lived, worked and performed in Vienna – from Schönnbrunn Palace to the National Library.

St Stephen's Cathedral

st stephens cathedral
Built in the 12th century, Vienna’s St Stephen’s Cathedral is considered an architectural masterpiece, blending the medieval Gothic with the 18th-century Baroque. With four towers and a central 450-foot spire, the cathedral is a recognizable feature of the Vienna skyline, and an unmissable feature of the city’s historic old quarter. It was here, in 1782, that Mozart married Constanze Weber; the cathedral was also used for the composer’s funeral, in 1791.

No. 5 Domgasse (Mozarthaus)

Tucked away on an unassuming street in the heart of Vienna’s old quarter, No. 5 Domgasse holds an extraordinary secret: it was the home of Mozart and his young family in the late 18th century. Renting several rooms in 1784, it was here that he composed many esteemed works, including the ‘Marriage of Figaro’. Today, No. 5 Domgasse has been transformed into Mozarthaus, a museum dedicated to the composer’s life and work. Permanent exhibitions include a collection of Mozart’s sheet music and instruments, documents and artifacts from 18th-century Vienna, and letters and correspondence between Mozart and his contemporaries, including Salieri and Christoph Willibald Gluck.

Schönnbrunn Palace

schonnbrunn palace
The fabled palace of Schönnbrunn is, without question, one of the most opulent Baroque buildings in Europe. Commissioned in the 17th century by Leopold I, the palace was designed by legendary architect, Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, who received training in Rome. The palace was completed in 1642, and was beloved by the Habsburgs, who used it as a summer palace. In the 18th century, Mozart performed several concerts at the palace, including a private performance for Joseph II in 1786. With Scenic Freechoice, you can choose to spend time exploring Schönnbrunn’s magnificent house and gardens as part of an exclusive guided tour.

Cemetery of St Marx

cemetery of St Marx
The Cemetery of St Marx is a historic graveyard located to the southeast of Vienna city center. Now a public green space, the site served as a cemetery until 1874, and many of its graves date from the Biedermeier period in the 18th century. Mozart was buried in St Marx following his death in 1791, in a common, unmarked grave, which was typical for the period. For a century, the composer’s final resting place went undiscovered, and there remains little evidence of its exact location. There is, however, a memorial stone dedicated to Mozart, and the cemetery makes a reflective and atmospheric place for a walk on a sunny day.

Featured Tours

The music, culture and heritage of Mozart and Vienna are yours to unearth on a Scenic river cruise. Our Danube river cruise itineraries provide the opportunity to trace Mozart’s footsteps from Salzburg to Vienna, with special experiences to bring the composer’s legacy to life. For more information or to book your place on our luxury Danube river fleet, call our team today at 866 689 8611.