The Natural History Museum, which was opened in 1889, is one of two enormous and beautiful buildings which face one another across gardens in the city centre - the other is the Art History Museum.
The staircase is very grand and Italy must have been emptied of all its marble to create this building. The view from the cafeteria on the (main) first floor, down through a circular eye some 20 feet across to the entrance hall far below is both spectacular and scary. There is a net drawn tightly across this space presumably to stop people throwing cakes down onto elderly American tourists just entering the building.
On the day I visited the museum there was a delightful half-scale air balloon tethered in the stairwell midway between the floors which added to the sense of enjoyment and well-being one should feel in such a wonderful place.
The collections include geology, natural history, anthropology and archaeology. There are said to be 20 million exhibits here. One of the most famous is the tiny but very sexy Venus of Willendorf, a mysterious and magical female figure from the Upper Palaeolithic period.
As with all museums these days, the place was teeming with children and young people (followed by anxious or exhausted teachers), but that is as it should be. The place is being used as a treasure house, which is precisely what it is.
Naturhistorisches Museum, Burgring 7, Vienna. Take any of the trams travelling around the Ring, the circular street which forms the city centre - you can't miss the museum. It offers good disabled access, there are excellent lifts to all floors, and the audio guide is highly worthwhile. Excellent too are the museums shops.
Google map: tinyurl.com/yfzazrv
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org