A charming, hilly neighborhood just south of Parque Céspedes (loosely bordered by Av. Trocha and Calle Padre Pico), El Tivolí was once the most fashionable place to live in Santiago. Today, it's a relaxed place of steep streets, weathered and decrepit wooden houses, and a couple of attractions, but mostly it's a good place to wander.
The famous Padre Pico steps are named for a Santiaguero priest who aided the city's poor. Castro once roared fire and brimstone down on the Batista government here, but today you'll find more pacifistic chess and dominoes players who've set up all-hours tables on the steps. Take the steps up to the Museo de la Lucha Clandestina (Museum of the Underground Struggle), General Rabí 1 between Santa Rita and San Carlos (tel. 22/62-4689), which is housed in a handsome 18th-century mansion on a hill, Loma del Intendente. Inside are disorganized exhibits related to the November 1956 attack on this former police headquarters, led by rebel leader and schoolteacher Frank País and his brother Josué, both executed by the army. Frank País's funeral was massively attended by Santiagueros, a signal that the Revolution would have significant local support. Other photos and documents attest to the phenomenal years of tension, rumors, and conflict that led to the rebels' triumph (labels are in Spanish only). The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 5pm; admission is CUC$1 (no photography is permitted).