This tour is currently sold out.
The ICAA is pleased to partner with Classical Excursions to present this exceptional tour of Cuba.
This tour is arranged by Classical Excursions. Please note, that you must contact Classical Excursions’ Director, Lani Summerville to formally register for this program. Upon completing a registration form, submitting a deposit to Classical Excursions, and receiving a confirmation from Classical Excursions you will be considered registered for this program. Payment of the $500 donation to the ICAA prior to registration does not guarantee placement on the trip. Again, to inquire about registration for this program, please contact Lani Summerville at [email protected] or 413-446-8728.
A fully tax-deductible donation of $500 per person is required to participate in this travel program. Please note that this donation is non-refundable except in the case that this travel program is cancelled by the organization. All travel program participants have the opportunity to receive a complimentary Individual level membership for one year to the ICAA.
This program will begin with a walking
tour of Old Havana (Havana Vieja) with an
architect and historian – and will focus on the
four main squares: the Plaza de Armas, Plaza
de San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja and
Plaza de la Catedral. On the tour, participants will visit iconic locations including the Castillo de la
Real Fuerza, built between 1558 and 1577, the
former residence of the Spanish captains for
over 200 years, Palacio de los Capitanes
Generales (image second right). The palacio
currently houses the Museo de la Ciudad and
was the former residence of the Spanish
The tour will then move on to Palacio del Segundo Cabo,
a former palace incorporating Moorish, baroque
and neo-classical elements, and El Templete, a
neoclassical monument marking the location of
the founding of San Cristobal de La Habana in
1519. Participants will then visit the Hotel Santa Isabel, originally completed 1784 and known as the
Palace of the Counts of Santovenia – it became
a hotel in 1867, Casa de la Obra Pia, a typical
aristocratic residence built originally in 1665,
and rebuilt in 1780, with Baroque decoration,
including an intricate portico, which was made in Cádiz, Spain, covers the exterior facade, Catedral de San Cristobal de La Habana with its two mismatched towers framing a baroque façade and a main altar made of Carrara marble inlaid with gold, silver, onyx and carved wood (image and detail below). The tour will move on to the Casa de Conde de Lombillo, this house adjoins the Casa del Marqués de Arcos, was built in the 1740s for the royal treasurer. Visit the Casa del Conde Bayona dated 1720, now the Museum of Colonial Art.
Participants will enjoy a visit to Escuela Taller, the specialized trade school, with the school's Director. The Director will explain the operation of this institution where students are introduced to old restoration techniques and placed to work in construction sites throughout old town.
The tour includes a visit to Hostal de Santa Cruz, the colonial house located in San Ignacio 411. This house was built in 1732 by Don Gabriel Beltran of Santa Cruz. During the passage of time it was lived by families and personalities of Havana’s high society and still conserves its original charm. And a visit to the Iglesisa del Santo Ángel Custodio, dating to 1695.
A visit to the historic Iglesisa del Santo Ángel Custodio, built in 1695.
Participants will enjoy a special visit to the Catalina Lasa House, designed in 1927 by architects Evelio Govantes and Félix Cabarrocas. The exterior is in the Italian Renaissance style, while the interiors are art deco - with marble from Carrara, ornaments and glass overdoor panels from Lalique and sand from the Nile. The extensive grounds were influenced by French landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier. There is an amazing trellised porch room done in pale green with black trellis pieces.
Visit to the Colon Cemetery, one of the most impressive necropolis in the world together with Pere La Chaise and La Recoleta, many of the tombs have elaborate structures and sculptures. One of the most unique, is an amazing Art Deco mausoleum dedicated to Catalina Lasa, designed by Rene Lalique.
The tour will include a visit to the Gomez Mena Mansion, now the Museum of Decorative Arts. This is the former residence of the Maria Luisa Gomez Mena viuda de Cagiga, Countess of Revilla de Camargo. It was it was designed in Paris by architects P. Virad and M. Destuque, inspired in French Renaissance and was built between 1924 and 1927 in a neoclassical style. The grounds contain four different elaborate entertaining terraces and areas.
Visit to the Museo Napoleonico, which is housed in a mansion designed in the Florentine Renaissance style and completed in 1929, architects were Evelio Govantes and Félix Cabarrocas, who also designed Capitol building and the Catalina Lasa House. The house was built for Orestes Ferrara, an Italian-Cuban politician, and professor at the University of Havana. The Napoleonic collection had nothing to do with this house but have been beautifully installed. The restoration of the building was done by the Office of the City Historian and reopened in 2011. The upper loggias offer stunning views over the city and to the sea.
Ten miles southeast of Havana, in the town of San Francisco de Paula, participants will visit the house of Ernest Hemingway - Finca Vigía . This is a unique historic house museum visit as you view the interiors through the open windows and doors – never actually entering the house. On the property is the recently restored swimming pool, his boat “Pilar” and tower study with distant views of the sea.
Finca Vígia is unique as there is an American nonprofit based in Boston that, the Finca Vigía Foundation, helps support the property and preserve the archives.
A brief walk through the campus of the University of Havana, seeing the statue of Alma Mater on the main steps, much like that at Columbia University. The vestibule is graced with a mural by Cuban artist Arturo Mendocal and a glorious stained glass. It functions today as a youth center.
A special visit to the complex of the National Arts Schools and specifically ISA, Instituto Superior de Arte, where we will join one of the school's esteemed professors (who is also an artist) for a guided visit through the studios and workspaces of Cuba’s leading art school. Participants will have the opportunity to view the students’ artwork, including painting, printmaking, photography, ceramics, and sculpture in metal/wood/or other materials.
The complex of five schools was designed by Vittorio Garatti, Roberto Gottardi, and Ricardo Porro.
Participants will visit the 20th Century, Bacardi Building, designed in 1930 by architects Esteban Rodríguez-Castells and Rafael Fernández Ruenes. The rich façade is constructed of polychrome granite, brick, terracotta and stone, at the elaborate decoration of the building crown features a bat, logo of the Bacardi company.
A visit to the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, which will include special lunch and drinks on the terrace, as well as an opportunity for cigar shopping, as the hotel has one of the best cigar shops in Havana. The hotel was designed by McKim, Mead and White and opened in 1930 – it recalls the firm's creation of The Breakers in Palm Beach which was completed in 1926.
On a walking tour, participants will visit Centro Asturiano, housing the Museo de Arte universal and featuring the most majestic staircase in Cuban architecture.
On the walking tour, we will visit the Manzana de Gomez, the first entire city block built completely for commercial use with two inner diagonal streets that cross the building in all directions, integrating the pedestrian circulation with the outer fabric. The Manzana de Gomez is now the Kempinski Hotel, which opened in 2017.
A visit to the Capitolio Nacional a fabulous monumental building, obsequiously similar to the US Capitol, and crowned by a 300.96-foot high dome. The recently renovated gardens are originally the work of the French Landscape architect, Jean-Claude Nicholas Forestier.
The tour will include a visit to the former Centro Gallego, built in 1915 by Belgium architect Paul Belau, now housing the Gran Teatro de La Habana, home of Alicia Alonso's Ballet Nacional del Cuba.
Participants will enjoy a walk along the Paseo de Marti (el Prado), a pedestrian promenade, remodeled in 1929, with the inauguration of the Capitol Building and lined with examples of Moorish- influenced architecture.
A special visit to the residence of former Cuban President, Jose Miguel Gomez, now the Alliance Française. The mansion features elaborate interiors and a lightwell courtyard. It the residence was fully restored was completed in 2017.
Participants will visit the former Asociacion de Dependientes del Comercio, a Venetian neoclassical style building placed in a key corner of the Prado. The residence was featured in the film The Buena Vista Social Club.
The program will feature a guided tour of the Museum of Cuban Art, given by curator Nelson Herrera. Nelson Herrera is a curator for the Wilfredo Lam Center. He will highlight some of the most important work in the permanent collection of Cuban art in the museum. The museum is dedicated exclusively to Cuban Art, and our tour will take a chronological path from the earliest days of colonialism to the latest generation of Cuban artists.
Participants will enjoy private dance performances ranging from traditional Spanish dance to Afro- Cuban dance including performances by some of the lead dancers with the Cuban Spanish Dance company.
This program will provide participants the exclusive opportunity to visit with several artists in their homes and studios.
The group will enjoy a meal at La Guarida in Centro Habana. One of the most renown paladares in town, we climb the marble staircases to the third floor of this impressive 1913 building. This paladar, which opened in 1996, was the location for the film Strawberries and Chocolate.
The tour will feature special evening at the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba with a special presentation on the work of the foundation with young Cuban artists, their art, photography and architecture. The Ludwig Foundation Director will host a drinks reception and buffet dinner on the penthouse terrace – and this will be a great chance to discuss the arts with invited local architects, artists and guests.
Participants will enjoy an evening at La Fábrica de Arte Cubano – known as FAC. This is an art gallery and performance space inside of a former cooking oil factory, and has since gained notoriety as one of Havana's premier nightspots .
In Cienfuegos, participants will tour the Palacio de Valle, the former home of trader Celestino Caceres. This architectural jewel originated as a private residence and later passed into the Valle family who added to it in a Mughal style with carved floral motifs, a stunning Carrara marble staircase, cupped arches, bulbous domes and delicate arabesques. The house overlooks Cienfuegos Bay.
A walking tour guided by an architect and conservationist will showcase the main square, Paseo del Prado, Cathedral de la Pursima Concepcíon and the Teatro Tomás Terry. These outstanding buildings, completed in 1895, were built with the wealth made by a sugar baron from Venezuela who arrived in Cuba without money and made his. Later investment in a sugar estate enabled him to have materials specially brought over from Europe for his buildings. Cienfuegos has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
A visit to the Casa de los Sanchez Iznaga, which currently houses the architecture museum with representative samples of the city's architectural development in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Participants will tour the Museo Lucha Contra los Bandidos, the former home of the San Francisco de Asis convent.
Participants will tour the Palacio Cantero, a museum of decorative arts and the Architecture Museum.
A visit to Valle de los Ingenios (valley of the sugar mills) the most important sugar producing region during colonial times and now declared a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site.
Participants will visit Manaca Iznaga sugar plantation, a quaint village hacienda famous for its splendid tower, built in 1835-45 by Alejo Maria del Carmen e Iznaga, once one of the wealthiest sugar barons in Cuba. The tower is 43.5 m high with 7 levels and the views from the top are panoramic.
There will be an opportunity to enjoy an evening musical performance at Casa de la Trova, in old town.
Participants will enjoy a dinner at the private home in Havana, featuring a lovely garden courtyard.
Plaza de Armas (Image: Wikimedia/W. Bulach)
Colon Cemetery Havana (Image: Wikimedia/Darwininan)
Bacardi Building (Image: Wikimedia/Tony Hisgett)
La Guarida (Image: Wikimedia/Nurzumspass)
Cienfuegos (Image: Wikimedia/Vgenecr)
Valle De Los Ingenios (Image: Wikimedia/Vgenecr)
Manaca Iznaga Sugar Plantation (Image: Wikimedia/Zinneke)
Museo Napoleonico (Image: Wikimedia/Libens Libenter)
If you would like to register, you may contact the travel operator organizing the program. Please note that a $500 donation per person to the ICAA is required in order to participate in each travel program.
Your $500 donation helps to further the ICAA’s goal of advancing the practice and appreciation of the classical tradition in architecture and the allied arts by supporting its varied educational programs, including continuing education courses, college workshops, the Summer Studio in Classical Architecture, New Heights, and many more.
Yes, a donation of $500 to the ICAA is required for each travel program you register for. The donation is required for each person attending a tour.
You can make your $500 donation to the ICAA online, or you can download, complete, and mail this form to the ICAA. You can alternatively fax a copy to 212-730-9649. You may also call 212-730-9646 x109 or email [email protected] to make a donation. Donations must be made separately from the registration fee.
No, membership is not required to attend an ICAA travel program. However, complimentary Individual membership to the ICAA is included with your $500 required donation.
For full itinerary and more information, contact [email protected], 860-926-4895. Due to the exclusive nature of our tours, some private locations or visits may be omitted from the ICAA's website.
Over the past several years, the ICAA has travelled to destinations including Paris; Andalusia; Atlanta; Barbados; South Africa; Chicago; the Netherlands and Belgium; Scotland; the French Riviera; Morocco; the Italian Lake Region; Charlottesville; Naples; and New Delhi, among many other locations.
The ICAA is always looking to diversify its travel offerings. If you have a suggestion or location you would like to see added, please email [email protected].