Miami's Original Hotspot
An Inside Look at the History of Vizcaya
Celebrate 100 years of international art and innovation at Miami’s original hotspot, Vizcaya, an estate inspired by history and the nature of Miami. Located just south of downtown Miami and right on Biscayne Bay, this urban oasis features gorgeous views for visitors to enjoy. But as the estate’s Marketing and Public Affairs Director, Charlotte Donn, explains, Vizcaya is much more than just a mansion.
Vizcaya once belonged to James Deering, a Chicago businessman who amassed a fortune by selling farming equipment as the vice president of International Harvester. “He ended up coming to Miami to spend winters with family,” explains Donn. “He suffered from pernicious anemia, and his doctors suggested he needed warmer climates in the winter. The estate eclipsed everything that was down here at the time, and Deering employed up to 10% of Miami’s population when it was built.”
Originally consisting of 180 acres, the family conveyed the home and its contents along with 50 acres of estate to the country. “The contents of the home are extremely rare. Deering was very well-traveled and he would go to Europe to purchase items for the home,” says Donn. The décor of the home is meticulous and each room has its own distinct style because Deering had the interior rooms designed off-site prior to the home being built. As a result, Deering constructed his home around his interior décor, as opposed to the normal practice of decorating after building.
Despite Vizcaya being built in the early 1900’s, Deering wanted his estate to appear as if it was centuries old. He used modern building techniques such as poured-in-place concrete but the exterior of the home is reminiscent of Italian Renaissance paired with a little bit of Floridian flare. “Deering dug a moat and used the rocks to construct the facades of the house,” Donn Explains. “He combined classical antique sculptures with things sculptured from native stone such as limestone and coral.”
Vizcaya is an extremely cultural hub of Miami itself. There are family programs and the opportunity for membership. “We have a very diverse audience,” says Donn, “We get a lot of international visitors as well as a lot of people from throughout the U.S.” Guided tour are provided and last from around 45 minutes to an hour. Guests can spend as little or as much time as they want in the estate before exploring the gorgeous gardens.
Vizcaya is open daily except on Tuesdays. It is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- By Ettractions Digital Content Editor PAULA MARINO
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