Just 6½ km (4 miles) south of Salzburg, the Lustschloss Hellbrunn was the prince-archbishops' pleasure palace. It was built early in the 17th century by Santino Solari for Markus Sittikus, after the latter had imprisoned his uncle, Wolf-Dietrich, in the fortress. The castle has some fascinating rooms, including an octagonal music room and a banquet hall with a trompe-l'oeil ceiling. Hellbrunn Park became famous far and wide because of its Wasserspiele, or trick fountains. In the formal gardens (a beautiful example of the Mannerist style) owners added an outstanding mechanical theater that includes exotic and humorous fountains spurting water from strange places at unexpected times. You will probably get doused (bring a raincoat). A visit to the gardens is highly recommended: nowhere else can you experience so completely the realm of fantasy in which the grand Salzburg archbishops indulged. The Monatsschlösschen, the old hunting lodge (built in one month), contains an
excellent folklore museum. Following the path over the hill you find the Steintheater (Stone Theater), an old quarry made into the earliest open-air opera stage north of the Alps. The former palace deer park has become a zoo featuring free-flying vultures and Alpine animals that largely roam unhindered. You can get to Hellbrunn by Bus 25, by car on Route 159, or by bike or on foot along the beautiful Hellbrunner Allee past several 17th-century mansions. On the estate grounds is the little gazebo filmed in The Sound of Music ("I am 16, going on 17")—the doors are now locked because a devotee once tried to repeat the movie's dance steps, leaping from bench to bench, and managed to fall and break a hip.