Villa FInale, San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio’s historic Villa Finale has decided to try its hand at opening up to tours amid the pandemic. This beautiful, antique mansion can be found in the King William Historic District has been closed for the majority of the pandemic. One of the historic staples of the south Texas cities, the Villa Finale has decided to open up to the public and test the waters with limited tours during the pandemic.

The Villa Finale Museum & Gardens is the only property within the state of Texas that is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. On Tuesday, it officially opened its doors again. As the property attempts to regulate rules, safety, and reopening amidst one of the most difficult moments in medical history, the art museum is only opened for guided tours on Tuesday through Friday. The grounds and gardens will also stay open to the public during touring hours.

Villa Finale was created in 1876 and was a four-room house at its inception. In later years it expanded into an Italianate Victorian mansion that was filled with art, antiques, and culture. Eventually, Walter Nold Mathis, bought the property before he passed away in 2005.

The historic site has been closed since March 16th and took to enhancing their digital presence during the pandemic, where they offered online webinars and virtual events on their Facebook page. Jane Lewis, the executive director of the museum said,  “We’ve been out there, just in a virtual format. And so now, we’re really looking forward to being able to have people back in person,”

The new hours of operation for the museum are Tuesday through Tuesday at 10am, 11am, 1pm, and 2pm for first-floor guided tours. Hours of operation on Friday commence at 10am, 11am, and 1pm. There are only four visitors per tour group and while the pandemic has presented the museum with unique challenges during the strange seaso.

Lewis explains that “…we really feel like we have created a new and much more personalized touch, which I think people will really like. With two guides and four guests on a tour, you’re going to get a lot of personal attention, even if it’s at a distance,” Tour tickets cost $10 and must be bought in advance by phone at 210-223-9800. Each tour lasts around 30-40 minutes.

Caroline Kidd