VILLA VIZCAYA – MIAMI
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens also known as Villa Vizcaya, named after one of the most beautiful beaches on the Spanish coast, depicts amazing European grandeur in an appealing American setting. James Deering, the house’s builder, was a successful businessman who ventured into new territory in the construction of this grandiose residence, establishing his Renaissance-inspired mansion in the midst of Miami’s tropical hardwood hammock. Despite being inspired by the early architectural style, the residence was very creative in its integration of advanced technology available at the time of its development (1914), including everything from specifics on how the building itself was constructed to the incorporation of modern detailing such as a telephone switching system and a central vacuum system. Although he only spent the winters at Vizcaya from 1916 to 1925, when James died, the estate was passed to his half-brother Charles. Deering’s zest of adventure continues on until now. The estate’s symbol, “The Caravel,” honors a ship employed during the “Age of Exploration.” As you begin your personal research of this ancient Miami landmark, you’ll see a picture of the legendary explorer “Bel Vizcaya” at the entryway, signaling the start of an unforgettable adventure ahead.
The beauty of Vizcaya’s 10 acres of gardens cannot be captured in a picture. The Formal Gardens are designed in many aspects to mimic the arrangement of France’s Versailles. Low, groomed bushes provide fascinating intricate patterns on pathways. Thick pillars, beautiful mazes, and antique sculptures contribute to the European style, but Vizcaya also embraces its tropical environment. Palms, rare orchids, and Cuban limestone provide a Miami touch to the grandiose Mediterranean atmosphere.
In 1914, Deering recruited the help of 1,000 laborers to build his ideal house. He and his creative collaborator, Paul Chalfin, searched Europe for the best antiques, furniture, and artworks. To decorate the walls of the house, the pair brought gilded panels, carved mantels, and painted ceilings from Tuscany and France. It took years to polish the mansion’s 70-plus rooms, 34 of which are brimming with antiques from the 15th century. As you go inside the Tea Room, you’ll see the smooth marble flooring shimmering a spectrum of light that shines through tinted glass doors. Enter the Breakfast Room and marvel at the theme, which combines Chinese ceramics with Neapolitan seascapes to symbolize the interchange of ideas during the “Age of Exploration.”
Vizcaya, located in the vibrant Coconut Grove area, has long been a cultural hotspot. Deering selected the Grove as his winter hideaway to protect the natural environment for future generations. Following Deering’s death, the remaining family gave most of the land to the town, resulting in the renaming of the museum as Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. Today, Deering’s goal of protection and conservation is honored through a variety of educational courses and trips.
From Popes to celebs, the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens has hosted a variety of stars and politicians. It is still one of the most popular sites for photo sessions, weddings, and other events.
There are many opportunities to become a part of Vizcaya’s history, with customized tour choices and low admission costs. So if you are planning a vacation or holiday, don’t leave this destination out from the list.