Robaina's plantation

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Museo Napoleonico (Napoleonic Museum) Havana

                  I want to start by saying that this place was not on the top of my list of places to visit when I started coming to Havana but that list has changed as my attitude towards the places I wanted to visit and post on my blog have. When you come to this museum you're not only seeing the best museum of it's kind outside the one located in France, you're also experiencing the decadence of the upper class in the form of the mansion it's housed in. The house built in the 1920's, where the more than 7000 pieces of artifacts are contained, was once owned by Orestes Ferrara, an Italian born, one time Cuban Ambassador to the United States. The house is a copy of the Palace of Médicis and was named the Villa Fiorentina. The pieces displayed in the Museum are a combination of the collections of Julio Lobo (Sugar Baron) and Orestes Ferrara. The objects, in 1986, were valued at 8 million dollars. There is a whole slew of stuff from weapons to furniture and works of art...coins, books and autograph letters....But the best of the lot is Napoleon's death mask. It's a bronze cast, one of only a few, produced in 1833 from the original one made by Dr. François Antommarchi.
                 The museum was originally opened in 1961, it had been recently closed 3 years for renovations and reopened in March 2011. They declared the collection a 'National Heritage' in 1960 and the museum was opened to the public the following year.
The Museum also contains a very rich library of more than 5000 volumes that are open to both students and researchers.
                  The place is so photogenic, between the pieces of artwork and the house itself, you can easily spend over an hour in this place exploring the 3 floors. There's a guide on each floor if you choose to partake in her services, otherwise I choose to go it alone. I can bore you with an explanation about each piece, who made it and what it represents but that's not what this is about. The pictures are posted and you can see how extensive a collection it is. If you're an art buff this is a must see....and then you can research what you like. If you're just into history in general and maybe architecture, this is a good spot for you too. I like a little of everything and it was perfect for me. I don't remember what I paid, 3cuc or 5cuc but it's safe to say it wasn't $20-30 like back home. It's located across the street from the university in Vedado on Calle San Miguel #1159 e/ Ronda and Mazón.

The Napoleonic Museum
San Miguel Street #1159 e/ Ronda and Mazón
Havana, Vedado Tel. 879-1412
Entrance fee: 3 CUC (Open Mon - Sat)

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