VIENNA, Austria - Seventy years after fleeing the Nazis, a woman whose family was immortalized in "The Sound of Music" has returned to Austria to visit her former home.
"I'm back home again," 93-year-old Maria von Trapp told reporters in Salzburg Friday after spending several nights in her childhood house, which has been transformed into a hotel.
Located in a posh part of Salzburg, the "Villa Trapp" once belonged to the von Trapps, who gained global fame in the 1965 blockbuster starring Julie Andrews, which tells the story of an Austrian woman who marries a widower with seven children and teaches them music.
The hotel is expected to officially open its doors to guests in October. Fans from around the world will have the chance to spend a night or two in the house the von Trapps called home between 1923 and 1938 before emigrating to the United States.
Maria von Trapp — who was flown in from the United States for the hotel's inauguration late Friday along with several relatives — appeared enthusiastic about the endeavor.
"I'm sleeping in the room where my brother slept ... it's very nice to be back again," she said in televised remarks.
The von Trapps' property was confiscated by the Nazis and SS chief Heinrich Himmler moved in. SS barracks were built in the garden and the property was secured with barbed wire and armed guards.
In the summer of 1947, the Missionaries of the Precious Blood bought the villa from the family. They later moved into a nearby building and rented it out to the business partners who spent $785,640) to convert it into a hotel.
Johannes von Trapp, Maria's half-brother, who was born in the United States, said the family has returned to Austria on numerous occasions over the years. He appeared pleased that the villa had been converted.
"I think it's a great idea ... it's an ideal high-quality property," he told The Associated Press by phone.
The Salzburg villa does not appear in the movie, which used a lakeside castle and other locations for the exterior garden scenes. All of the interior shots were filmed in a Hollywood studio, and the famous opening scene of Andrews running across an alpine meadow was shot over the border in Bavaria, Germany.
The von Trapps are expected to stay in Austria until early August.