Hemingway’s house

To be honest, until I was sitting on the plane flying across the Ocean towards Cuba I had no idea that Hemingway lived and wrote on the Island, crossing from the US on his boat in an attempt to forget Pauline, his second wife, and start a new phase with Martha, his soon-to-be third.

Trying not to fall asleep I flipped through the Lonely Planet guide and suddenly there it was, in the “must-see” section of Habana: Hemingway’s house, Finca Vigía (the “lookout farm”).

So when we organised our days in Habana, this was one of the stops we squeezed in.

The house was perfect. In the middle of a busy working-class area of the capital, as soon as you drive in the estate everything goes quiet. You can barely hear the cars outside. And when you pay the only instructions that are given are enigmatic: “The house is open, so don’t walk through the doors or windows.”

We soon understood the meaning of those instructions. The house was indeed accessible to us tourists, but only from the outside – inside, everything (apparently) had been left as he had left it after his death in 1961. In order to keep it in this state, visitors are not allowed inside but can stroll around the external walls and look in through the open doors and (mostly open) windows.

I was particularly pleased with this visit, as I discovered that Hemingway, whose books I might have read but do not in any way remember (sorry, my memory is like that of a goldfish) and I have actually quite similar tastes. At least in internal decoration and obsessive-compulsive collection of books and natural items. And alcohol.

His house is that of a naturalist. Clearly. Full of animal parts, pelts, trophies (more on these in a later post, keep watching this blog!), stones, leaves, sand, sticks, books, maps, posters, carpets, little animal statues, writings on the walls, trinkets, photos. I loved it. The details were exhausting and exhilarating at the same time, the house bright and breezy and full of windows. Nothing could have inspired me more to read his books, which I probably will do now. Starting from “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and “The Old Man And The Sea” which he wrote in those same rooms that I took the following photos of.

Lonely Planet was right: a must-see!


His house from the outside


The living room. Please please notice that amazing corner magazine holder! I absolutely adore it. I need one. This post might be published tomorrow, because I am now going to take a break and look for one to buy….


The living room. There was a large poster (there, on the right before the deer trophy) advertising a bull fighting event in Spain. He had a thing for bull fighting.


There were also quite a few (empty) bottles of alcohol around the house. And sooooo many boooooks!


I’m not sure what this is, but I had to take a photo and then zoom in to make sure it wasn’t a real head! You never know…


The bedroom. So bright and airy!


A beautiful Asian painting. Perfectly coordinated with the rest of the house, and so elegant.


Little ceramic animal statues! Just like mine!


In his bathroom there was writing on the wall. After careful investigation I decided that this was a daily data collection of his weight.


The dining room. Not sure why that painting wasn’t hanging, but the table was set.


A sample of his books. There’s also an Italian novel, I Fratelli Cuccoli by Aldo Palazzaeschi, about a man who adopts two orphans.


Some of the rooms were sealed. With a string, wax and…beer tops.


This was a room on the third floor of a separate building. Here Hemingway wrote, relaxed and looked for alien life (ok I just invented that, he probably looked at stars and planets and stuff).


His Corona typewriter with coloured pencils in a milk jar.


About Full Of Daisies

I am permanently in love. Things I like: purple, pasta, silk, autumn, the smell of mould, candles, cachi, having friends, water, new things, rice, eggs (all eggs!), fresh grass, olive trees, shiny things, glitter, hanging objects, windcatchers, wind, couscous, wasabi, carnivores, presents, snow, leaves, orchids, feathers, cappelletti, meat, fruit (all fruit), more del gelso (Morus alba L.), pigs, candles, christmas, polenta fritta!, separating egg whites from yokes in my hands, cartoons, dragons, the ocean, nudibranchi, cows, mercury (the metal), cosmos (the flowers), thunderstorms, Mika, turtles, acquariums, green and blue (mixed), siccamores, spring, snails, 24, porc with a sweet sauce (apple, cranberry, tomatoes jam), looking at a swimming pool upsidedown and underwater, english accent, open-minded people, driving, blue skies, checkered tablecloths, butterflies, books and cartoons in rhyme, painting eggs, the star-shadows that football players have, silver, laughing, Vivaldi, bells and chimes, white and purple, creating. Complete Happiness: Early morning. Sun, with a breeze; a pond with water lilies. A house, with a garden, full of plants. A vegetable patch, lemon, orange and mandarin trees. Cosmos everywhere. Birds in the trees; a tortoise eating the salad from the vegetable patch; a mammal (I couldn’t decide which one would make me happier) close by. No houses for as far as the eye can see. Me, a man that loves me and that I love. Friends coming over for a lunch that I have to prepare, and have all the ingredients for all ready in the kitchen.


  1. Pingback: Hemingway’s animals | Full Of Daisies

  2. Pingback: Hemingway’s animals | Full Of Daisies

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