The Watch

Finca Vigia (Hemingway's House)

San Francisco de Paula, Cuba

2006 World Monuments Watch

For more than two decades, famed author Ernest Hemingway occupied Finca Vigia, a hilltop villa 20 kilometers east of Havana. Built in 1886 by the Catalan architect Miguel Pascual y Baguer, the house was acquired in 1939 by Hemingway, who lived there until 1960. Today, Finca Vigia, which houses the Ernest Hemingway Museum, is in danger of collapse due to geotechnical instability and exposure to high humidity, wind, rain from hurricanes, aging, uncontrolled vegetation, and inappropriate renovations. A group of U.S. citizens founded the Hemingway Preservation Foundation, Inc. (today the Finca Vigia Foundation) to restore the house and its collections. While the U.S. Treasury Department has granted the organization a license to carry out work, efforts to raise funds have been thwarted by the economic embargo against Cuba.

Since the Watch

Technical missions to the site organized by the Finca Vigía Foundation have taken place since 2005, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. An international colloquium on Hemingway took place in Havana in June 2009. The site received additional publicity when an archive of Hemingway's papers found in the house was donated to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Massachusetts. The project has been described in the press as a positive model for the future of US-Cuban relationships, and in November 2010 the team was presented with a Heritage Award for International Excellence by the U.S. National Committee of ICOMOS. In March 2014, the Consejo de Patrimonio Cultural in Cuba and the Finca Vigía Foundation renewed a 2002 agreement to preserve Ernest Hemingway’s legacy on the island, which will include further conservation and restoration work at Finca Vigía. Last update: April 2014

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