It looks as though tourists searching for Sound of Music haunts will be unable to stay in the best location of all. The Austrian city of Salzburg has blocked plans to turn the former home of the von Trapp family portrayed in the Academy Award winning Sound of Music into a hotel.
Citizens of Salzburg nixed the plans because they were worried that the city would be overrun by an excessive amount of tourists. The developer of the project stated, “Salzburg bites the hand that feeds its tourism. It could be thought madness that a new tourism venture is being blocked when global financial problems could result in far fewer tourists for Salzburg.”
The hotel, which would have been called the Villa Trapp was slated to open this year. The home, which belonged to the original von Trapps and was not featured in the film, is already used by visitors as a marriage site. The developers of the hotel wanted to provide 14 hotel rooms for visitors and still insist that they have an alternative for the traffic problems caused by extra tourists. They are attempting to appeal the decision.
An estimated 400,000 people visit Salzburg every year to see the original locations featured in The Sound of Music. The story of the nun-in-training who becomes a part of the lives of a widower and his seven children is universally known. However, many people don’t realize that, as always, the movie differs from true events.
Maria came to the von Trapp household in 1926 as a tutor for one of the children, Maria, who was recovering from scarlet fever. She was not a governess to all the children. The children were already musically talented before Maria’s arrival. However, she did teach them to sing madrigals.
Georg von Trapp was not in fact the cold and aloof military father portrayed in the first half of the film. In reality, he was a kind and loving parent who enjoyed participating in his family’s musical activities. Though it made for a better story, the film’s changes distressed Georg’s family greatly.
Maria and Georg were married in 1927, eleven years before the family’s escape from Austria, not right before the Nazi’s arrived. The family’s escape was also different. They did not hike over the Alps carrying their suitcases and musical instruments. They simply told people that they were going to America to sing and left by train.
The character of Maria was also greatly changed from the sweet, good-natured Maria Julie Andrews portrays. According to accounts from the children, Maria often had angry outbursts, consisting of “yelling, throwing things, and slamming doors.”
Finally, (and possibly the most upsetting to fans) Maria did not marry Georg because she was in love with him. In her autobiography Maria she said that she did fall in love with the children, but not Georg. However, she grew to love him “more than I have ever loved before or after.”
Sylvia Westall, Austria’s Salzburg resists “Sound of Music” Hotel, Reuters
Sound of Music’s a Salzburg Money-Maker, The Sydney Morning Herald
Joan Gearin, Movie vs. Reality: The Real Story of the von Trapp Family, The National Archives