Very few people have ever seen the real von Trapp home in Salzburg, Austria. Most tours take people to the two grand homes used in the Sound of Music (one for the front and one for the back). But the real house, a bit smaller but still a manse, is located in a small residential area of Aigen, located outside of Salzburg and is open only to its few hotel guests.
We are not only guests there for two nights, but we are enjoying the spacious suite that was the bedroom and sitting area that were used by Maria von Trapp when she lived here prior to WWII.
This suburban home is located adjacent to the train station where the von Trapps made the real exit from Austria (not a walk over the mountains) and their eventual move to the US.
It is secluded to respect the privacy of the neighborhood, and even Julie Andrews, who played Maria in the Sound of Music, had never visited the actual home until this Spring. At that time, Diane Sawyer, in an ABC special, took her there in a dramatic visit.
Greg and Sue first heard in 2008 that Villa Trapp was being converted into a bed and breakfast. The house had been used as an important Nazi headquarters, with renowned SS Chief Heinrich Himmler taking it over for his own home and office. Himmler built an ugly concrete wall around the place and an underground bomb shelter, both of which remain.
After WWII, the von Trapps, in love with Vermont, did not return and simply sold the property to an order of priests for a seminary. Later, the priests, who still own the property, built a modern building in back on some of the spacious land.
Once the B&B was announced, amid a lot of hoopla including a visit from two living von Trapp children, the city changed its mind and revoked the permit after neighbors complained.
It was at that time that Greg & Sue, as Maine innkeepers, had been corresponding with the proprietors and were allowed to visit.
As some of the first visitors of the house, Greg & Sue were granted complete access to the house and grounds and have maintained contact with the innkeepers. Through a series of coincidences, Greg and Sue eventually met, befriended and shared photos of the property with two of the surviving children who never returned to the house. One of these Agathe (who passed away in 2010 at 97) was the oldest daughter (Liesl in the film but in reality older than 16 going on 17); and Rosemarie, daughter of Maria, and one of three surviving children living in Stowe, Vermont (who shared with Greg and Sue her memories of the flight from Austria).
In recent years, the house has been featured on such TV shows as Amazing Race.