Vizcaya

The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens shimmer in the reflection of Biscayne Bay, retaining the dream-like vision of farm-equipment heir James Deering, who chose the spectacular spot for his elaborate subtropical interpretation of an eighteenth-century Italian villa. The once-private property, built between 1914 and 1922 in the Coconut Grove area of Miami, is surrounded by nearly 59 acres of serene Italian renaissance gardens with stone fountain creating a setting for countless photographs. Now owned by taxpayers, the grand estate includes a Milan-inspired music room, Venice-inspired bedrooms, billiards and smoking rooms, a vast collection of art and a swimming pool that emerges from vaulted arches at the lower level of the house. Damage from Hurricane Wilma in 2005 has mostly been repaired. A National Historic Landmark, the property has hosted high-society parties for decades — and a legendary annual Halloween party known for elaborate costumes. Vizcaya, set amidst mangroves and hardwood hammock, played an important role in South Florida’s development, with Deering – one of the country’s richest men — employing about 1,000 people during construction in the 1910s, including Italian and Bahamian craftsmen and laborers, many of whom settled in Miami.
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