Appearing here in an exclusive interview, Secret Vienna shares with us why they do what they do, and what they love most about this city they currently call home.
Q: What is it about Vienna, Fabio?
A: I moved to Vienna from Milan only very recently, in January 2016. I guess it is the right mix between tradition and innovation, culture and fun; a melting pot where you can easily feel at home.
Q: You started your blog, Secret Vienna, as soon as you arrived. Were you ready for it right from the start?
A: I suppose I was. Before leaving Milan the World Expo, hosted there in 2015, gave me the chance to see the city I lived in for 25 years with new eyes; that’s when I realised how little I knew of its history and secrets. Whenever friends came to visit I could hardly tell them anything, except for a few facts about its most famous spots. It’s common, I think, to be blind to the details of the city you work and live in. So this is what Secret Vienna is all about for me: empowering people, and providing them with off-the-beaten-path knowledge about this amazing city.
Q: What are some of the elements that are typical of Secret Vienna?
A: I’d say the ability to observe and to connect the dots. History is everywhere and it’s so much more rich that the usual Mozart-Sissi-Freud trinity; that alone is simply not enough to explain the beauty of it all. Here at Secret Vienna are either after secret stories/places, or revealing a new facet of the already known. It is about going a little deeper, and savouring it all.
Q: What do you suggest to people living in Vienna in order to expand on their “Vienna experience”?
A: There are no secrets, but here are my tips: look up, look down! There are plaques, signs, writings and architectural details all around you! Walk or take a bus/tram to fully understand the details and different areas. Go back to the same areas over and over again; there is always something you might have missed! Read. Read. Read. Do that before and after your “Secret Vienna mission”: there is a lot on the Internet and in books that is not common knowledge. Finally, Take lots of photos (appropriate for the members of Vienna Photo Walk!), because you never know what will come in handy sooner or later.
Q: Speak of the devil: photos! This is, of course, the hottest topic at VPW. What are your suggestions and do you have any favourite places?
A: I only recently started to taking photography classes, so I am a bit embarrassed to suggest anything to your guys. My personal favourite spot is, well, the whole Innere Stadt, where legends and history meet! I guess the best advice I could give you is: go to the same place during different hours and seasons, because Vienna is ever changing and full of little details. Another idea: try and take a walk without your camera (maybe take memo/pictures with your phone to remember the spots) and then come back with your camera; I think you will notice many more elements you may have missed the first time around. Finally, and crucially: do not be afraid to enter buildings or courtyards when the doors are open! Mystery and surprises might be only few steps away!
All photos courtesy of Christina M. Stieber