Museo Alcázar de Colón

Top choice in Santo Domingo

Designed in the Gothic-Mudéjar transitional style, this was the early-16th-century residence of Columbus’ son, Diego, and his wife, Doña María de Toledo. The magnificent edifice underwent three historically authentic restorations in 1957, 1971 and 1992, and the building itself, along with the household pieces on display (said to have belonged to the Columbus family), are worth a look.

Recalled to Spain in 1523, Diego and Doña Maria left the home to relatives who occupied the handsome building for the next hundred years. It was subsequently allowed to deteriorate, then was used as a prison and a warehouse, before it was finally abandoned. By 1775 it was a vandalized shell of its former self and served as the unofficial city dump. Less than a hundred years later, only two of its walls remained at right angles.