The Sound Of Music | 1965
The film of the phenomenally successful Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was shot on lots of real locations around Salzburg, Austria, though plenty more were recreated in the 20th Century-Fox studios in Hollywood.
The opening aerial shots are Salzburg’s glorious Lake District, the Salzkammergut. The castles you can see are Kloster Höglwörth, an old monastery on a peninsula in Höglwörther See; and Schloss Anif, off E55 a few miles south of Salzburg.
The mountain, atop which Maria (Julie Andrews) makes her first twirling appearance, is Mehlweg, near the Bavarian village of Markt Schellenberg, about six miles from Salzburg. Don’t be too disappointed – the birch trees and the babbling brook were added for the movie.
Convent interiors were recreated in the studio, but the exterior really is Maria’s abbey. It’s Nonnberg Abbey, Nonnberg Gasse, where you can visit the courtyard and peek inside the chapel (which looks nothing like the interior recreated back in Hollywood).
The film cheats a little with the exterior, too. As you’ll find if you visit, the real Nonnberg Abbey doesn’t look out over the picturesque old town of Salzburg, but to the nondescript southern suburbs. The reverse shot, of Maria leaving the abbey, filmed way across the city on the Humboldt Terrace (seen later in the Do Re Mi number), in front of the Museum of Modern Art, which since 2002 has stood atop Mönchsberg Cliffs on the site of the old Cafe Winkler.
As Maria leaves to take up her post with the Von Trapp family, I Have Confidence in Me was filmed in Salzburg’s Old Town, in the Residenzplatz, where you’ll see the Domplatz arches, through which Maria enters, and the Residenz Fountain, in which she splashes.
The ‘Villa Von Trapp’ is a combination of two different Salzburg locations. The tree-shaded lane, where Maria alights from the bus, is Hellbrunner Allee, running south from the old town. Here you’ll recognise Schloss Frohnburg, a 17th century country house, now the Mozarteum Music Academy, which was used for the intimidating gates and front entrance of the villa which Maria nervously approaches.
The lakeside terrace, though, was filmed at Schloss Leopoldskron, a rococo castle on Leopoldskroner Teich, a small artificial lake on the southwest of the town. You can view Leopoldskron across the lake from König Ludwig Strasse, but it's now – hurrah! – a hotel. Leopoldskron's extravagantly gilt Venetian Room was replicated in the studio in Hollywood. Incidentally, the famous gazebo originally stood on the palace's grounds, when it was a private villa, but was moved to a more accessible location.
The real Villa Trapp, by the way, is in Aigen, a suburb just to the southeast of the Old Town of Salzburg. Since 2008, it’s been open as a hotel, Villa Trapp, Traunstraße 34, 5026 Salzburg. There’s a rail service to Bahnhof Aigen.
The little footbridge over which the von Trapps skip at the beginning of the My Favourite Things montage of Salzburg is Mozart Steg, north of Mozart Platz. They quickly move on to Domplatz, in front of Salzburger Dom (Salzburg Cathedral); Kapitelschwemme, the Baroque horse pond once used for watering and cleaning horses, in Herbert von Karajan Platz; and the market on Kajetanerplatz, just north of Nonnberg Abbey, where Maria demonstrates her tomato juggling skills.
They finally head off for a picnic in the meadow above the village of Werfen, 25 miles south of Salzburg in the Salzach River valley (where you can also visit the castle from wartime action movie Where Eagles Dare).
Do-Re-Mi begins at the picnic, returning to Salzburg atop the Monchsberg Cliffs, on Humboldt Terrace which you can reach from the Monchsberg elevator in Anton Neumayrplatz, at the end of the Gstattengasse shopping street, and continuing with a carriage ride south from St Erhard Kirche, the Parish Church of St Erhard, along Nonntaler Hauptstraße, which you’ll find directly beneath Nonnberg Abbey.
The number climaxes at Mirabell Gardens, on Schwarzstrasse, over the Salzach River behind Schloss Mirabell, where you’ll find the fountains, statues and, famously, the flight of steps on which the children hop.
The Von Trapp gazebo, used for Sixteen Going On Seventeen, once stood in the grounds of Leopoldskron, but constant trespassing resulted in it being moved and reconstructed in the ornamental gardens of Schloss Hellbrunn, Morzger Strasse, toward the south of Salzburg. And another cheat. It was recreated, slightly larger, back at 20th Century-Fox in Hollywood for the interior shots.
Maria’s wedding, which took place in Nonnberg Abbey, was filmed in the baroque, twin-towered St Michael’s Church, Wredeplatz, in Mondsee, about 15 miles east of Salzburg on the E55/E60.
The Anschluss scene, Austria’s enforced unity with Nazi Germany, was staged back in the centre of Salzburg itself in Residenzplatz.
The music festival, at which the von Trapp family perform their disappearing act, is at the Felsenreitschule (‘Rock Riding School’), Hofstallgasse 1, a 1400-seat theatre built in what was a rock quarry for Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun in 1693, and used as the archbishop's riding school. It’s one of the sites of the Salzburg Festival.
Despite what some overenthusiastic tour guides might tell you, the cemetery in which the von Trapps hide from the Nazis is a Hollywood studio set, though its design is clearly based on St Peter’s Graveyard, which you can see just off Kapitelplatz.
The mountain over which the family finally escapes to freedom is above the village of Obersalzburg with views of the Untersberg in the distance, near the village of Rossfeld, on the 319, 12 miles south of Salzburg.
• Many thanks to Lieselotte Mayrhofer; and to Bryan Crawford of Edelweiss Tours for help with this section.