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“Caught me by surprise”

Villa Finale: Museum & Gardens
Ranked #99 of 266 things to do in San Antonio
Attraction details
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Caught me by surprise”
Reviewed October 5, 2013

Villa Finale was on the biggest hidden surprises of my trip to San Antonio. From the outside, it looks like just another beautiful home in the Prince William area. But it was the home of Walter Mathis, an eccentric developer, who bought 14 homes in the Prince William are and was a major contributor to the revitalization of the area. During his life he collected all types of items such as pocket watches, musical instruments, and countless other things that he had on display in his home while he was alive. Practically every inch of his home has some type of object on display. This gentleman for the most part lived in a museum! Going here will not only give you the opportunity to view his wonderful collection, but you can also see what these wonderful homes look like on the inside. (Although it is not an architectural tour). The strange thing is that even thought this gentleman died relatively recently, (2005), The house’s décor is more like from the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. Everything in the house is just as it was the day he died. You can do a self guided tour during business hours, but you will only be able to see the first floor. To get the most out of it, take the guided tour which is given twice a day one at around 10am and the other at 2:30pm. Sarah, the tour guide is very knowledgeable. So if you are in San Antonio, don’t just keep walking past when you see this home. Go inside and enjoy!

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Chicag0kid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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30 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
21 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Must See in San Antonio”
Reviewed March 31, 2013

My wife and I recently visited this house. I was hesitant about doing a house tour because I wanted to visit a few more of the missions but we ran out of time. Based on the recommendations of some friends we decided to take the tour. This house is definitely worth seeing! The man who owned the home was an art collector, especially from the time of Napoleon. All sorts of items from that time period...furniture, guns, swords. The house is exactly as it was when the owner passed away...basically it was like living in a museum. You'll see flintlock pistols, Napoleon's actual death mask, original artwork from Mary Bonner.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank rkrk2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carrollton, Texas
Level Contributor
305 reviews
107 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
“Historic Property”
Reviewed October 30, 2012

This historic property is fun to visit. The man that lived here was a robust citizen that loved to collect lots of interesting art. He made amazing contributions to our society and we were glad to visit!

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank DLemon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
29 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Beautiful house and grounds”
Reviewed October 24, 2012

After seeing the home and grounds from outside the fence, I decided to take a tour. I was the only person on the tour and the docent was very entertaining with stories / ancedotes about the man who donated the house and his collections (many!) to the city. I agree with others that the collection became overwhelming, but I still enjoyed seeing the interior. Beautiful stained glass windows and a very nice restoration.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank ChristineQ034
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, GA
Level Contributor
197 reviews
90 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
“12,000 artifacts on display”
Reviewed May 9, 2012

There are now two restored houses open for public tours in King William – Steve’s Homestead and Villa Finale. Villa Finale opened in late 2011 and offers hour-long tours from Tuesday thru Saturday. The cost is $10 per person (or $7.50 for seniors) and tickets are purchased at an office site at the intersection of Turner and Madison – about a block from the actual mansion. The house contains 12,000 artifacts of all descriptions (swords, stick pins, china, maps, shaving mugs, Napoleon memorabilia, flatware, lamps, paintings and on and on) and ALL artifacts are on display all the time so you are bombarded with visual input. Tours are limited to six guests. I thought the collections were impressive, the tours well-guided and the price very reasonable. The house is one of only 29 sites in America listed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The employees at both locations were well trained and courteous.

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
5 Thank berkeley78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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