Disclaimer: High levels of Sound of Music fandom are about to commence.
I love the Sound of Music. Unabashedly. I remember watching it at some sort of group gathering as a kid (maybe Girl Scouts?) but since I was in college I’ve watched it every year while I wrap Christmas presents. I make hot cocoa, wrap all my presents at once and sing sing sing to my heart’s content.
So while Salzburg is beautiful and full of music and was relatively untouched by the war, I was there on a mission: a Sound of Music tour. Is there anything better than embracing the kitsch with 50ish other SOM enthusiasts?
Outside of Salzburg
Turns out two homes were used for the Von Trapp’s villa in the movie. The house and tree-lined drive (for Maria’s approach and the children in the trees) are a villa that has been converted into a music school. All the exteriors of the house were shot there. The interiors were shot on a studio lot in LA. The gardens and lake (when they fall out of the boat) were shot at a separate villa which we got to go to.
When I first saw the movie I thought Liesl was the prettiest ever and looked up to her like I looked up to the 8th graders at school. So naturally, “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” was my favorite song. 20th Century Fox left the gazebo behind when they finished filming. Through the magic of Hollywood the fully built gazebo is actually a 90% replica and all the dancing scenes were filmed, once again, on a soundstage in LA.
Next, we drove out of Salzburg through the Lakes District (where all the panoramic shots that open the movie were filmed) to the village of Mondsee. The actual Nonnberg Abbey were Maria is a postulate in the movie is in Salzburg (but not available to visit) but the movie wedding was filmed at St Michael’s church in Mondsee. The church is a mixture of Gothic and Baroque styles. Despite being in it, the church still appears so much bigger in the movie. More Hollywood magic!
I found a clip of “Do Re Mi” from the movie. Go ahead and (re)watch it, the rest will make way more sense. I’ll wait.
The montage where Maria teaches the children to sing was filmed all over Salzburg and the surrounding countryside. Many of the city shots for the song were filmed in Mirabell gardens. Formally the palace of one of the Prince Archdukes that ruled Salzburg, today it is the city hall. Behind the building elaborate gardens have been maintained and are free and open to the public. There are several fountains, a rose garden, statues and a dwarf statue collection.