Photo by Bill Sumner, courtesy Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Archives
Visit a Historic Italian Palazzo in Miami
Completed in 1916, this Italian-inspired villa on Biscayne Bay was the home of the early 20th-century industrialist James Deering and is now a National Historic Landmark. The house was modeled after historic villas and country estates in the Veneto region of northern Italy. The heart and main living area of the house is the Courtyard, which was originally open to the sky. Diego Suarez, who had worked in Florence, designed the gorgous formal gardens with classic Italianate flair, but modified for the heat and humidity of southern Florida. Thousands of varieties of orchids flourish in the greenhouse, while subtropical trees, palms, and low hedges highlight the lines of the gardens’ layout.
By GiAnna Wyatt, AFAR Local Expert
Historic Design at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Before the high-rise condos of Brickell, Sunny Isles, and Miami Beach, there was a different way to make yourself at home when wintering in Florida—by building your own full-fledged estate. This bygone lifestyle is on prime display at Vizcaya, an Italian-inspired villa that was the retreat of early 20th-century industrialist James Deering. The décor mixes period pieces with notable Italian antiques. But perhaps the most spectacular collection is the more than 2,000 varieties of orchids thriving in the renovated greenhouse. Subtropical trees and royal palms are among the other plant life beautifully maintained in the gardens. Also keep an eye out for “the barge,” a massive, ornamental stone feature in the harbor. It protects the house from any incoming storms—and was also the scene of some pretty fabulous parties Deering hosted in his heyday.
By TwoWillTravel, AFAR Contributor
Oasis: A surprising discovery in an urban landscape
I was in Miami for the first time last month. Most of what I saw in Miami - the beach, the art galleries, the nightlife - were all something I expected to encounter. But on a friend's recommendation I went to the Vizcaya mansion and gardens and was pleasantly surprised. Who would expect something like this in Miami? It was definitely an oasis within the city, a place quite peaceful and lovely that I spent a few hours just sitting in the garden reading a book.
By Ryna Dery
Well Placed Lizard
This was taken at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens on a beautiful, balmy Miami day. There were lizards scampering around everywhere and I couldn't resist taking this photo.
By Hannah Eaves
Beautiful, Overgrown Gardens
The gardens at Vizcaya mansion are overgrown and full of gracefully decaying statuary. A visit here makes for a nice, relaxing break from Miami.
By Hannah Eaves
3251 S Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33129, USA
Wed - Mon 9:30am - 4:30pm