Casa del Tostado / House of Tostado
The Casa del Tostado is one of the earliest homes constructed in the New World city of Santo Domingo. It has unique features and also there are some interesting legends about this 15th century home.
The Casa Francisco de Tostado
The Casa Francisco de Tostado home was built in the 15th century. This is one of the earliest constructions on the island. This historical Tostado came to the island with Nicholas de Ovando in 1502 making him one of the earliest settlers on the island. He was a writer and father of famous writer Francisco Tostado de la Peña. Francisco was the first person born on the island to become a university professor. He was killed by cannon fire of Pirate Francis Drake in 1586.
The Tostado house is famous for its double window Elizabethan Gothic facade with Moorish influences, one of the most unique windows in all the world.
This historical home ran all the way down to the sea covering an entire city block. The construction of the house is said to be one of a kind.
Inside the rooms are large and spacious and quite lavish. Inside the house there were large gardens and parks. There are exquisite archways located throughout the house. On the top floor tower there is a great view of the sea. The patio is lovely and it is said at one time there was even an orchard inside the walls.
Casa de Tostado has been home to many famous inhabitants of the island. First the Tostado family, including Francisco Rodríguez Franco. At one time it was Archbishop’s Palace. It is now the home of El Museo de la Familia Dominicano / The Museum of the Dominican Family.
Casa del Tostado Legends
There are a few different versions of tragic love stories that are said to have occurred in this famous house. Here are two of them.
One romantic and tragic legend is from the nineteenth century. The father of a beautiful girl was blamed for the tragic death of his daughter.
His daughter had a boyfriend who was a part of the invading army marching in the street below her window. When she saw him marching by she ran to the street to greet her man. Her father went into a rage. He was so angry that he killed his daughters’ boyfriend with his sword.
The distraught girl ran to her lover who was lying on the ground. She held him as he breathed his last breath. Desperate and in pain she ran to the well in the yard and dived in. Falling to the bottom and ending her life.
Another version of the story told to me was that the wealthy owner of the home had many African saves. The daughter fell in love with one of these handsome slaves.
The lovers were secretly meeting on the patio while the father was out. When the father returned to the home unexpectedly the slave went down into the well to hide. He was holding onto the edge of the well waiting for the father to leave. After some time the daughter got her father to leave the patio area.
Finally, when her father left the house, the daughter returned to the patio to see the man she secretly loved and let him know that her father was gone again. She called for him but could not find him anywhere. As a last resort she looked into the well.
It seems that her lover could no longer hold onto the side of the well while waiting for the father to leave the patio. He lost his grip and fell into the well drowning in the water below.
The daughter was so distraught. She went to the top of the tower and threw herself off. She died on the street below.
El Museo de la Familia Dominicano / The Museum of the Dominican Family
The Dominican Republic took over the Tostado House in 1970. The government restored the building and it was opened to the public on August 15, 1973. It was made into a historical monument and now is the home of El Museo de la Familia Dominicano / The Museum of the Dominican Family.
This museum holds many historical documents of the Dominican national heritage showcasing the culture and customs of the Dominican people.
There is an impressive collection of 19th-and 20th-century Victorian wicker and mahogany furniture. Included in the collection are many impressive paintings, drawings, photographs, books and objects of personal use. Some of the works of art in the collection include some of the more important artists of the time.
Inside the home one of the original courtyards still exist. It is a beautiful green tranquil spot where you can sit and reflect. In the center of the patio sits an old well. Make sure to go up the stairs to the tower. You will have a spectacular view of the Colonial Zone.
Could these be the same well and tower that the legends spoke of?
Hours: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday thru Saturday. Closed Sundays
Cost: $100 pesos for general public (2008).
The corner of Calle Padre Billini and Arzobispo Meriño just beyond the Cathedral of Santo Domingo.