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“Cool building / interesting artifacts”
Review of Belvedere Mansion

Belvedere Mansion
Ranked #20 of 45 things to do in Galena
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Attraction details
Owner description: The green drapes from "Gone with the Wind" are one of the many interesting items on display at this 22-room Italianate-style home. Built in 1857, the mansion now exhibits period furnishings and also includes items from the estate of flamboyant entertainer Liberace.
La Grange Park, Illinois
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Cool building / interesting artifacts”
Reviewed September 17, 2012

we enjoyed touring this home and gardens. Tour guides did nice job and were well informed. The owners have lots of cool antiques with stories.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank cndom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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203 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Eclectic collection; but not an authentic restoration”
Reviewed September 11, 2012

Owners have a fascinating collection (green curtains from Gone With the Wind - remember the dress?) but not an authentic period restoration. A bit pricey.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank Joyce C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Good mansion tour”
Reviewed September 3, 2012

We only visited one mansion and this was a good one to choose. It was very pretty and had a great deal of history throughout the entire house. They have three tour guides for different sections of the house. The first and third were great; well informed, well researched and presented the information in a informative and concise manner. Our middle tour guide, Billy, didn't leave the best impression. I think he was trying to be sarcastic in a funny way but it came across as rude and unprofessional. The other two gentleman were also dressed very well where he was a bit sloppy and unkempt. Overall though, we enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to others.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Dave S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
30 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Nice but...”
Reviewed August 27, 2012

Pretty house nice to have seen but was more like being in a very old house beautiful I should say to but filled with so many different antiques but felt like there wasn't much of any type of rhyme or reason?

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank cori50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Don't waste your money.”
Reviewed August 17, 2012

This is a 22 room mansion of which you see less than half on the tour. In any other setting, the furnishings would be considered tacky. The owners are obviously collectors and throw things together with no rhyme or reason, simply because they are antiques or collectibles.
You are told there are no pictures allowed because of insurance reasons, yet a full video of the house can be watched for free on YouTube. If you want to pay $12 or more to see the Gone With the Wind drapes, that is your decision.
According to the video, the owners live there and "graciously" open the doors to the public. We were not allowed on the third floor and were told it was because of fire reasons and safety. I did research afterwards and discovered from the YouTube video the owners live there - I did not completely tour the grounds, so I don't know if there is a guesthouse, but my assumption is the owners live on the third floor.
We had a problem with our tour being overcrowded and when I complained, both the trolley company and the mansion refused to give a refund. We were offered a chance to take the tour again, but had seen enough to know it wasn't worth wasting our valuable and limited time to see glimpses of chairs from the Vatican or other items. It wasn't that impressive the first time around..
There is a good chance the tour guides are the actual owners, but they don't tell you that. The tour guide said when asked the name, "I'm not going to tell you that, but the owners have houses all over the world. They are getting "up there" in years."
If you still want to go on this tour and there are more than 15 people waiting outside for the start of the next tour, hold off until it is less crowded. There truly is no room for people to maneuver and flow of traffic was not directed. One person in our group started to show signs of anxiety from being boxed in and claustrophobic. Yet nothing was done to move people through the upstairs hallway.
Do not let anyone in the tourism industry of Galena tell you there is no parking and you should take a trolley tour instead. The mansion is .3 of a mile from shopping on Main Street. If you can't walk that far, there are a few parking spaces near the mansion, if those are all full, trust me, your tour will be too crowded. One other cautionary note, if walking is not your thing, this tour is not handicapped accessible and you will be going up and down steep staircases.
I put the word 'graciously' in quotations because, I too have a home-based business and I know the benefits from the tax code for my small business are ample enough that I chose NOT to have a storefront. This is a very profitable business for them. I can't begin to imagine all they are able to deduct and claim as expenses.
I can understand why the tour guide would not want to let people know they are the owners out of discretion and privacy. What I can't excuse are the historical inaccuracies told as anecdotes and passed on to people as fact. There are several, including the fascinating, but inaccurate description of the purpose of coffin corners and that women's makeup used to be wax based.
I know my review is a mixture of fact and opinion, because I am disgusted we were not given a refund. Bottom line, do not take this tour as part of the trolley tour, save your money, walk to the house or park in the provided spaces. Do not expect historical accuracy. Be prepared to see a lot of expensive antiques that do not have a central theme to tie them together.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
5 Thank Mattie1412
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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