Dear Readers, this post presents my visit to Finca Vigia, Ernest Hemingway’s home outside of La Habana, Cuba. It diverges from my usual format by presenting photos in a video montage. It is a bit of an experiment. I hope you like it.
Finca Vigia was Hemingway’s home in Cuba from 1939 until his death in 1961. From 1932 to 1939 when Hemingway visited La Habana he stayed in Room 511 on the top-floor of Hotel Ambos Mundos. Not wanting to live in a small hotel room, Hemingway’s third wife, Martha Gellhorn, persuaded him to relocate to a home in the village of San Francisco de Paula about 12 miles east of La Habana.
The property, Finca Vigia, is now a museum. Admission is 5 CUC ($5). The grounds are open seven days a week. Entrance into the house is forbidden, but the many windows allow a good view of the interior.
Hemingway last resided at Finca Vigia in 1960. After his suicide in 1961 in Ketchum, Idaho, the Cuban government took charge of the property. It was closed to the public until 2007. In spite of the house being listed as one of the world’s most endangered historical sites, it looks remarkably well preserved. His library, furnishings, and artifacts remain seemingly undisturbed. The house looked to be in great condition – perhaps even better than when the Hemingways last vacated it.
In 1946, Hemingway’s fourth wife, Martha, built a tower on the property to serve as a writer’s studio with a view. To his wife’s likely dismay, the studio became a home for Hemingway’s cats as he preferred working in his bedroom.
The Cuban government even preserved Hemingway’s fishing boat, Pilar, American flag included, and his canine cemetery.
I hope you like the 38 second video.