Altos de Chavon: My Glorious Misconception by Tina Hofer

altos de chavonAltos de Chavon has always seemed larger than life and centuries old to me. My childhood imagination dreamed up visions of explorers building this village to stake their claim on the island.  As I came to learn however, this mythical place came into being not by the hands of centuries old explorers but from the creative minds of Italian master designer and cinematographer, Roberto Coppa & his partner on this project, Charles Bluhdorn in the late 1970s.

Blasphemy! I thought at first. How could this be? How could I have missed the “man behind the curtain” for so long? How had I let my imagination take such a firm grip on my perception of the history here at Altos de Chavón?

Simple. Extraordinary measures were taken to bring Mr. Coppa & Mr. Bluhdorn’s vision, of a medieval European village, into existence. All it takes is a step through the giant handcrafted doorways or a stroll along the carved stone sidewalks to realize that when it came to the fabrication of Altos, no detail was spared. Indeed, true artisans and craftsmen were put to work here.

The St Stanislaus Church in Altos de Chavón
altos de chavon church
A sense of place hangs thick in the air at Altos de Chavon. Masses at the church of St. Stanislaus are small and intimate but they leave you with big, grand feelings like you belong to something bigger.  Quiet moments looking out over the Chavon River are bliss, pure and simple. The Roman amphitheater transports you to another time… that is until Enrique Iglesias steps on stage and serenades you back to the present day. Altos is the stuff of legend both for childhood imaginations and grown-up day dreams no matter what century it was built.
The Dye Fore golf course in Altos de Chavón
dye fore golf course
Alchemy is often at work when we travel…. as if the history & stories of a place can quietly seep into our veins. At Altos, old is new again and its history is only just beginning to unfold.  It will be our stories that swirl around for centuries to come.  It’s quite possible that wide-eyed travelers will stand at the very point where you’ve stood and feel the very same magic that you’ve felt. What an exciting prospect.
The view from the Dye Fore terrace of the Chavón river
chavon river altos de chavon

This fantastic article about Casa de Campo was written by Tina Hofer, who has been visiting Casa de Campo for over 20 years and over the next few months Tina will be sharing more of here Casa de Campo memories and photos with us!

Read Tina’s last article “The Sun Shines Brighter in Casa de Campo” – click here!

Tina is an Interior Designer and  is also author of the blog Sweet On Design
Please visit her blog & learn more about her work at www.ChristinaLeeDesign.com

For more articles and photos of Altos de Chavón, click on the links below:

Memories of Casa de Campo: Artistry and Craftsmanship in Altos de Chavon

• Roberto Coppa, the designer and creator of Altos de Chavón dies aged 87

• Memories of Casa de Campo: Casa del Rio and the James Beard Foundation

• Memories of Casa de Campo: Altos de Chavon’s Zanzibar