The Palacete Vicini is a magnificent private home built in the art déco style by Czech designer architect Antonio Nechodojma in the 1920s. The beautiful little palace is nestled unassumingly on Calle 19 de Marzo in the Colonial Zone.
The entrance has 3 stairs leading to a small porch with two magnificent Ionic columns on either side. These columns are 12 meters tall and are three and a half meters wide at the base making them unique in shape and size. If you can get a glimpse into the front door and the entrance, there is a remarkable semicircular stairway leading to the second floor.
The ironwork adorning the windows and doors of the entrance are uncommon. Especially the magnificent metal lattice work on and above the entrance door.
The second level has a beautiful curved semicircular balcony, which has metal balusters adorned with spirals and 5 arched doors. The balcony is usually covered in beautiful flowers.
There are 4 narrow windows on the front of the home. The 2 bottom windows are unremarkable. The top windows on either side of the balcony are trimmed with Islamic style arches and have beautiful stained glass. This design is said to be the only one of its kind in the city of Santo Domingo.
Owners (2019) – Juan B. Vicini and Consuelo Marchenauso
Notes of interest –
*The Vicini family has Italian origins and as a whole, are the wealthiest family in the Dominican Republic according to Forbes Magazine.
*A Palacete is a luxurious mansion, villa or stately home that resembles a palace but is smaller.
Location of Palacete Vicini
#113 – 19 de Marzo between Arz. Nouel and Padre Billini, Ciudad Colonial, Santo Domingo.
Parque Duarte is a beautiful plaza or park named after Juan Pablo Duarte, a Founding Father of the Dominican Republic. They erected a beautiful bronze statue in the center in honor of this Dominican hero.
Parque Duarte is a neighborhood park that is a nice place to sit and wile away an afternoon. Maybe you could even join in a game of dominos. There are benches where you can sit in the shade under a tree, relax and watch the world pass by. It is calm and peaceful during the day.
When darkness comes this place is overrun by young people partying, drinking and listening to music. There is a Colmado and a few small bars surrounding this park where you can get a cold beer, a mixed drink or whatever type of liquid refreshment you desire. Different food vendors pass through where you can get ice cream, a plate of chicharrones (pork cracklings) and other local type snacks. I call this park “the alternative lifestyle park” as it has a variety of visitors in the evenings. Artists and musicians, bohemian, gay and straight, young and old. A very interesting place to observe and enjoy partying with a variety of humans.
Plaza and Sculpture
Plaza Duarte was named on November 20, 1891 by the Ayuntamiento of Santo Domingo.
They inaugurated the park and the statue of Duarte in the center of Parque Duarte on July 16, 1930 when Rafael Estrella Ureña was president of the Dominican Republic. Italian sculptor and painter Arturo Tomagnini created the hollow cast polished bronze statue between 1928 – 29 in Italy.
The sculptor depicts Juan Pablo Duarte standing with his right hand on his chest at his heart. In his left hand he holds the draft of the constitution. He stands proudly atop the granite and concrete pedestal. Sitting below him is the Diosa de la Victoria / Goddess of Victory. (Diosa de la Victoria (Nike), in Greek Mythology, is the goddess of victory both in war and in peaceful competition.)
Duarte Park – History & Legends
Here are a few legends and historical items that I have found to be very interesting.
*This square in it’s long history has also been known as Plaza Anacaona, Plaza Santo Domingo and Plaza del Exconvento Dominico / Plaza of the Ex-Convict Dominico, Plaza del Convento de los Dominicos.
*Haitian separatists fought for independence at this site in 1843.
*It was the site of bullfights during the celebrations of the Virgen del Rosario.
*Edificio Elmúdesi, built by Benigno Trueba in 1936, is one of the historical buildings that surround Parque Duarte. The building was the home and clinic of Doctor Antonio Elmúdesi. The Elmúdesi building is part of the architectural heritage of the Dominican Republic.
*In the 19th century, this was the place chosen by the Trinitaria to meet and begin a conspiracy against the Haitian occupation that took place between 1822 and 1844.
*Legend says that the queen of Jaragua, Taino Anacaona, was hanged here but it has never been proven.
*Sir Francis Drake and his followers hung to death the Dominican Fathers Juan de Caravia and Juan de Illanes in 1586.
The Northern Walls and Forts of Colonial Santo Domingo / Las Murallas y Los Fuertes del Norte de Colonial Santo Domingo
The walls of the north side of the old city of Santo Domingo are all but lost with a few small exceptions. From Fuerte Santa Bárbara and the battery of the Angulo, on the eastern edge of the colonial city along Rio Ozama, and Fuerte la Concepción, on the westernmost part of the city, little remains of the original Forts of Santo Domingo.
Most people visiting the Colonial City think that the walls surrounding the city only ran along the waters’ edge, the Caribbean Sea and up to Rio Ozama. But, there was more to protecting this important Colonial City than that. Many of the attacks on the city of Santo Domingo came from the land surrounding the city. The walls and forts were needed to protect the city from land attacks as well. This is why the entire city was surrounded by walls and forts.
It is sad to think that much of the history and these forts along the north side of the Colonial City are destroyed. Their walls are either destroyed or hidden behind modern buildings and forgotten.
These lost, or almost lost Fuertes/Forts and Murallas/Walls (east to west) are Fuerte San Antón, Fuerte de San Francisco, Fuerte San Miguel, Fuerte San Lázaro and Fuerte de la Caridad. It is easiest to see these walls walking from the Barrio of Santa Bárbara along Av. La Mella, crisscrossing between the streets of Duarte, General Cabral, Juan Isidro Pérez all the way down to Palo Hincado. (You can check the old html – nonresponsive map of the Colonial Zone and see the locations of these walls.)
Fuerte de San Antón
Designed by J. B. Ruggero in 1672, it is one of the seven bastions surrounding the city in the north. It was not in the best location at the bottom of a hill so it was rebuilt many times. The Ermita de San Antón sits along this wall at the Plaza San Antón. The catwalk is still visible on the top of the mural. It can be seen at the beginning of Santa Bárbara and behind the small chapel, Ermita de San Antón.
Directions: Hostos and General Cabral along Ave. Mella
Fuerte de San Francisco
Located between the Forts of San Miguel and Ermita de San Antón, there is nothing left of this fort but a few small traces. Its wall, at one time, connected chapel or Ermita de San Antón and Ruins of the San Francisco Monastery. The fort was demolished at the end of the 19th century.
Directions: Duarte and Vicente Celestino Duarte and General Cabral and Avenue Mella
Fuerte de San Miguel
Located in front of the church of San Miguel. All that is left of this fort is a wall that is in bad decay. More information about the Iglesia San Miguel.
Directions: Juan Isidro Pérez and José Reyes
Fuerte de San Lazaro
Constructed at the end of the 17th century using a pentagon shape. It is the only fort that has a strong double ramp leading up to the fort. This is very unique and is the only stronghold that has this type of incline. More information about the Iglesia de San Lazaro.
Directions: Juan Isidro Pérez coming in from Santomé and José Reyes
Fuerte de la Caridad/ Fort of Charity
Fuerte de la Caridad is part of the northern section of the wall, built in the late seventeenth century. It can be seen in ruins hidden behind some buildings.
Directions: Juan Isidro Pérez #215 and Mella
Walk The Wall Tour
These forts and walls are a much-overlooked part of the Colonial City. To understand the history of this important colonial city I suggest that when visiting that you “Walk The Wall” as I call it. I do a tour where we walk the wall and just talk and enjoy the less-visited parts of the city. The tour is very casual and leisurely. At your pace and see what you are interested in seeing. If you are interested please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All You Want To Know About The Oldest City In The Americas
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