Altos de Chavón, a replica of a 16th century Mediterranean village, is perched high above the scenic Chavón river.
Build just a smidge later than the 16th century, in the late 1970s, it was the brainchild of Charles Bluhdorn, who was Chairman of Paramount, and Roberto Copa, who was a set designer at Paramount Pictures.
Cobble stoned pathways, fairy-tale buidlings, and a massive amphitheater (accommodating an audience of 5000 people were built by Dominican artisans, reviving almost forgotten crafts of metal work and stone carving. The village was finally inaugurated in 1982 with a concert of no-one other than Frank Sinatra.
You find galleries, stores and restaurants at Altos de Chavón and although clearly a tourist destination, it feels intimate and curiously authentic. Don't miss the Regional Museum of Archaeology (El Museo Arqueológico Regional), an astonishing collection of pre-Columbian Indian artifacts unearthed in the surrounding area.
A warm thank you for my Dominican Republic experience — courtesy of Casa de Campo (http://casadecampo.com.do). @casadecampo