The Vizcaya, once a private home of the businessman, James Deering, was modeled after a centuries'old Italian country villa. The planning and construction process of Vizcaya lasted from 1910 to 1922 with the help of Paul Chalfin, Francis Burrall Hoffman, Jr., and Diego Suarez who designed this subtropical estate. The home has been described as "the finest private house ever built in America."
It features 34 decorated rooms showcasing over 2,500 European inspired art objects and breathtaking furnishings. The estate includes ten acres of formal gardens, an orchid collection of 2,000 specimens, and 25 acres of endangered primary growth forests. Yes, I know—talk about beauty! And get this, every room gets an impeccable view of the 1,700 courtyards. The museum is split into five parts that include the waterfront and gardens, ground floor, east gallery, north gallery, and south gallery.
Besides its' evident beauty, major international events have been held at Vizcaya, including the Summit of the Americas, the signing of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and events associated with Art Basel Miami Beach. Vizcaya even served as a diplomatic setting for notable figures such as President Reagan, Clinton, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Spain’s King Juan Carlos, among several others.
The Vizcaya welcomes travelers, joggers, cyclists, school groups, families and anyone who wants to connect through nature to this breathtaking estate. Bring your art tools and create away! The Vizcaya has traditionally served as an inspiration to artists of all kinds, welcoming artists seeking to create (sketch, draw, paint) on site. At the Vizcaya, participate in art-making workshops, environmental education programs, or even morning yoga.
Travelers, look out for the many steps and uneven floors throughout Vizcaya's Main House, gardens and grounds. Make sure to wear sturdy, comfortable shoes, and more importantly—watch your step! The museum doesn't allow food or drinks inside. So, consider stopping by the cafe and shop where you can enjoy light bites and beverages as you walk through the dazzling European-inspired terrain.
Don't forget your camera! Non-flash photography and video recording can be used throughout the museum.
Photo cover by photographer, Bill Sumner. Information available on Vizcaya.org.