Bringing Europe Home

The Hills Are Still Alive!

Remember The Sound of Music?  Sure you do!  Now, quick–what’s your favorite scene?  The one where Maria topples the rowboat and she and the kids fall into the lake? Liesl and Rolfe leaping across the rain-spattered gazebo, while singing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”?  The “Lonely Goatherd” marionette play?  Whatever it is, chances are it was filmed at or inspired by this remarkable place:

What It Is

This is Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria.  It has an intriguing history as it was owned by a ream of interesting personalities, one of whom was Max Reinhardt. He was, incidentally, co-founder of the Salzburg Festival, a fact which I find curiously ironic.  Schloss Leopoldskron was confiscated during WWII, while Reinhardt was living and working in Hollywood, but was eventually regained by the Reinhardt  estate and has since become home to the Salzburg Global Seminar.  My husband attended a conference there when were living in Germany, and my oldest two children and I were lucky enough to join him.  (And as an example of  “life meets art imitating life” that I can’t help but share, my oldest son played Max Reinhardt in his high school production of “Shakespeare in Hollywood.”  He was very good.  😉 )

 During our stay, we learned a few things about the schloss and its role in The Sound of Music.  I will take you on a small tour of the palace and sprinkle it with a few fun facts about the filming of the movie, for your added enjoyment.

This is Max Reinhardt’s library, in use by attendants of the current seminar.  As guests we did not actually stay at the schloss, but we stayed at Mierhof, the adjacent residence on the same park like grounds.  Conference meetings did take place in rooms of the schloss, and we were fortunate to be able to have breakfast at the schloss in grand style.

It was a magnificent way to start the day!

The views from the palace were wonderful,

while the interior was filled with ornate details and impressive artwork.

This mirrored room was the inspiration for the setting of the ballroom scene in The Sound of Music.  It was completely replicated for filming that scene, and the “lonely goatherd” puppet show was also shot in the reproduced room.

Best of all were the palace grounds.

The palace faces Leopoldskron Lake, which is every bit as gorgeous as it appears in the movie.  The terrace of the schloss was the spot where the dripping wet Von Trapp children emerged from the lake and lined up to greet their father upon his return home with the baroness.  It served as the backdrop for all the scenes “behind” the Von Trapp house, including the scenes where Maria teaches the children to dance and then dances with the Captain.  (A different palace was used for the front view of the Von Trapp family home).

The gazebo used for the scenes featuring “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and “Something Good” (the tender love song that the Captain and Maria sing to each other, which happens to be one of my favorite scenes from the movie, and I’m getting teary-eyed now just thinking about it) was also part of the schloss grounds.  It was Max Reinhardt’s music pavilion, and it also was rebuilt, on a slightly larger scale, for filming the interior shots of those scenes.  Once Sound of Music enthusiasts caught word that the famous gazebo was there, however, they constantly managed to make their way onto the private grounds of the schloss to get a glimpse or a photo of it, and it was finally relocated.


Bring It Home

The  real Von Trapp family left Nazi occupied Austria on a concert tour in 1938 and traveled to the United States to continue their tour, later settling in Stowe, Vermont.  Maria von Trapp tells the story of her family and her very colorful life in her 1972 autobiography, Maria (which I read many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed).  The Von Trapp family eventually opened a hotel in the hills of Vermont, and you can book a stay at  The Trapp Family Lodge yourself.

Until then, you know what to do.  Make a big bowl of popcorn, gather your family round, and put in the DVD.  I can hear you singing already.


  1. JRJ2015

    the cow is cool, about an hour from me in a town they have horses painted up all over town,its cool because each horse has a different theme lol

    • They do that here, in Atlanta, too–with turtles! I think it’s pretty funny that you can find statues of animals painted in a variety of ways, all over the world and in the most unexpected places. 😉

  2. a strawberry patch

    Wonderful photos! One of my favorite movies, as a child I always loved the ” Do, re, mi” song sequence, as a teenager, “Sixteen, Going on Seventeen” became my favorite, now I sing “Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens….” all the time! A movie for all ages!

    • So true, so true! Glad you liked the photos, Strawberry. 🙂

  3. Marvelous pictures and story. I was in Salzburg and for me it was all about the Sound of Music! Great post 🙂

    • Thanks, Meg! The movie is so big for us Americans, it’s hard to let a visit to Salzburg go by without thinking of it and paying a small tribute. 🙂

  4. Beautiful! My Sister-in-law and Brother-in-law live in Hungary, and they have promised a day trip to Austria when we go to visit them. I loved that movie. It is an indelible part of my childhood!

    • It is a fun and heart-warming film, isn’t it? Austria is stunning–enjoy your visit!

  5. TBM

    I don’t know if I should admit this, but I still haven’t seen the movie. It is on my list of top 100 movies, but it is number 40 so it will take me some time to reach it. Love the photos.

    • Well, you’re not alone, TBM. Glad it’s on your list–I’ll look forward to that review. 😉 And I’m glad you like the photos–thanks!

  6. Great place, I am glad you got to see it. The Trapp Family Lodge is equally beautiful, just different style.

    • Ah! We’ve wanted to go to the Trapp Family Lodge for years, but never yet made it there. I’m glad you did!

  7. One of my favorite movies. We took “The Sound of Music Tour” when in Austria in 1989, and only got a glimpse of the place from afar. I so desperately wanted to see it. Thank you so much for the photos and for reminding me of a wonderful vacation! They are beautiful!

    • Thank you, Arnel, and you’re welcome! I’m glad the photos brought back fond memories. 🙂

  8. A lovely post Robin… you certainly are an expert on this story! (Dare I admit I have never seen the film…)

    • Thank you Cathy, and I must say that I don’t just rely on my memory or on what I think I know–I do a bit of research for some posts (like this one) to insure accuracy of content. So, I’m much more of an expert on this story now than I was two days ago!
      And it’s okay if you haven’t seen the film, Cathy. I think there might be 5 of you, now… 😉

  9. Gina

    this is my all time favorite childhood musical!!! enjoyed your fun facts. i found Austria to have some of the most ornate architecture & interiors in Europe (have not yet visited Russia 😉 and this palace is no exception. fun post.

    • Thanks, Gina! My kids love the movie too, so we were all keen to see the filming locations. I agree about the architecture–so much is of the Rococo design, and I often think of the Austrian buildings as icing covered cakes. 🙂

  10. Superb photos Robin! I would like to live in that library. The scene that came to my mind was the one where they’re all huddled up with Maria when the storm’s raging and she’s singing about her favourite things. A truly magnificent movie that bears watching over and over. I can imagine visiting there must have been a wonderful occasion. Nice cow, too.

    • Thank you, Lorna! It is one of those feel-good movies, and we lapped it up while we were in Salzburg. Although I understand that the Austrians don’t much care for the film (perhaps because of all of the inaccuracies??) they have recognized the value of those who do, and they rather embrace it with their tours, now. Thus, the cow!

  11. Thank you for the wonderful tour!! Now I want to go!

    • You’re welcome, Kerry! They have several fun Sound of Music tours in Salzburg, of course–and we did hop on a tour bus for one of those, too. But it was really a terrific bonus to find that this conference site was also a filming location for the movie!

  12. lntci

    Fabulous Post!! What a great place, and an intriquing little bit of history!

  13. High on the hills was lonely goatherd… Just looking at this wonderful imagery makes me want to siiiing!!! An all time favourite of mine (and) they only just replayed on tv last night 🙂

    • Lady-oddle lady–oodle lay HE HOOO!! It’s a great movie, and near the top of several “best loved” movie lists, I understand. How funny that it was just replayed last night!

  14. Bonita Babe

    FABULOUS PHOTOS & yes, I’m teary-eyed too. One of BEST ever!!


  1. Salzburg, Austria « Bringing Europe Home

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