Ahhh… The Sound of Music. Who can resist throwing their hands up in the air and twirling around with glee whilst belting out “the hills are alive…” etc. etc? Surprisingly, it would seem most people visiting Salzburg where the movie was filmed, can resist. Even during the fiftieth anniversary of the film’s release last year (2015), few were willing to join me in a skip around the Pegasus fountain in Mirabellgarten or march about confidently in Residenzplatz. Regardless, I had a splendid time re-enacting some of my favourite scenes from the movie on the very spots where they were originally filmed.
“The Hills are Alive…” The stunning Salzburg backdrop to the von Trapps silver screen home at Schloss Leopoldskron (the large white building, bottom left)
Schloss Leopoldskron is a 3-star hotel with Fort Knox style security. Unless booked to stay the night here, no one can get past the security guards at the door to take a quick photo on the lakeside terrace where a sodden Maria and the children first meet the Baroness
I only got within a zoomed lens of the terrace
The front of the von Trapps’s movie home was filmed at the back of Schloss Frohnburg, fittingly a concert hall and part of the Mozarteum University
It was here that Julie Andrews skipped and sang “I Have Confidence” as she approached the villa gates to take her post as the new Governess to the von Trapps. Is that her failed predecessor leaving before Maria’s arrival?
The real Villa Trapp still exists, close to Salzburg’s Aigen train station. It is now a hotel
The real Villa Trapp sadly doesn’t look across a lake, nor does it have a pavilion on its grounds
The pavilion from the film in which lovely Liesl falls in love with the treacherous Rolf can now be found in the grounds of Schloss Hellbrunn
More like Sixty going on Seventy
Due to an incident where an elderly American SoM fan decided to skip from bench to bench like Liesl did, only to slip (as did actress Charmian Carr during filming), break her leg and subsequently sue the Hellbrunn estate for negligence, the pavilion is sadly not open to the public anymore
But, that doesn’t stop fans coming to visit it anyway.
It’s good to see Liesl and Rolf reunited and that all is forgiven
Love endures fifty years on elsewhere in Salzburg. Along Mozartsteg…
…love is not far away
The real nunnery where Maria had intended to become a nun was used in the film
Nuns don’t waltz inside the Benedictine Stift Nonnberg, but I have to admit I did twirl in the aisle whilst humming the obvious tune when there was no one around to see me. The acoustics inside the chapel are superb
Those that are not fans of The Sound of Music can enjoy Nonnberg Abbey’s fine collection of twelfth century Romanesque murals instead
Walking back into town from Nonnberg Abbey, one can enjoy the same stunning views across Salzburg that Maria and Julie Andrews would have enjoyed
The famous Pferdeschwemme (horse trough) can be seen from here (bottom right)
…and another horse-themed fountain that features in the film is the one in Residenzplatz
I was rather intrigued by this sign along Residenzplatz leading into Domplatz
It looks very much like Plummer and Andrews to me. It’s good to see they are still welcome in the city
A more interesting sign is the one outlining by-laws and regulations that must be adhered to on entering Mirabellgarten. The von Trapps take note: no singing here after 10pm
The famous Pegasus fountain where Julie Andrews and the children sang “Do-Re-Mi”
It seems nowadays only Pegasus wants to relive that moment…
Disappointingly, there is more driving than dancing around this famous fountain these days
The new von Trapp cast for the remake?
No dancing under the garden arches either…
… nor by the park entrance
… except by the statues, although this appears more Saturday Night Fever than The Sound of Music
At least The Sound of Music has not been forgotten here
Fame can be a fickle thing. One day you are starring in a blockbuster musical with Julie Andrews, the next you are back to being just another park statue that no one recognises
Ugly this (once) famous gnome maybe, but clearly the SoM filmmakers found him to be the most photogenic as he is not the only gnome in the park
Mirabellgarten is full of hideous stone gnomes
Julie Andrews would have had no fear of being upstaged if this gnome had been chosen for that scene
He would have just scared the children if he had been given the role
Stunning views towards Festung Hohensalzburg from the top of those famous Mirabellgarten steps
Is that Julie Andrews showing off her less wholesome side?
I hope they are contemplating a rendition of “Do-Re-Mi” on those steps. Maybe they are just waiting for a few more fans to join them
At last! Someone sharing my enthusiasm
Schloss Leopoldskron is around fifteen minutes walk from Salzburg’s Old Town, on the other side of Mönchsberg. As stated, if you are not staying at the hotel it is unlikely you will be able to go inside to see the terrace and the hotel’s Venetian Room that inspired the design for the film’s von Trapp ballroom where the children first sang “So Long, Farewell” to the gathered adults. You are free to walk around the lake beyond the grounds of the hotel, where you might get a peek of that famous terrace.
Schloss Frohnburg is further south. Get bus number 3 or 8 from Salzburg Rathaus to Salzburg Polizeidirektion where it is a short walk through the park to the gates.
The villa where the real von Trapp family lived is at Traunstraße 34, just a short walk from Aigen S-Baun train station. Take the train from Salzburg’s Hauptbahnhof main train station and change at Salzburg Süd for the S-Bahn network where Aigen is one stop further down the line.
Schloss Hellbrunn is further outside the city. The number 25 bus from Rathaus drops visitors by the palace gates approximately every thirty minutes. The journey takes around fifteen to twenty minutes. Whilst at Hellbrunn it is well worth booking a tour around the water gardens and fountains.
Nonnberg Abbey is a short walk up the hill, south-east of the Old Town. The easiest way to reach it is to get the funicular up to Festung Hohensalzburg and follow the signs down hill along Nonnberggasse. The chapel is open during the day to visitors free of charge, but the rest of the convent is strictly closed to the public.
Walk along the north bank of the Salzach River down leafy Giselakai (watch the cyclists) to reach Mozartsteg (Mozart bridge).
Mirabellgarten is in the heart of the city, just north of the Old Town. There are plenty of signs for it and it can be easily reached by foot. Access to the grounds, the gnome garden, the Pegasus fountain and the famous “Do-Re-Mi” steps are free of charge.
There are plenty of Sound of Music tours – some by coach, some by bicycle – available to book online and whilst in the city. If you don’t spot a poster or a canvasser promoting a SoM tour whilst walking around the city then clearly you’re not in Salzburg.
The original lyrics to “Do-Re-Mi” mowed into the lawn next to the famous Mirabellgarten steps
The hills are alive with the sight of Mozart. The more unusual ways Salzburg chooses to celebrate its most famous son
Turin: celebrating Italian architecture, Italian culture and The Italian Job in the Piedmont capital