Vizcaya Museum andGardens spans 50 acres (20 hectares) of waterfront property. It was once astately holiday home, built by wealthy industrialist, with livestock and astaff village. Today it’s an historical museum and bayside park that offers apeek inside the lives of the rich and famous.
When you look outover the calm Biscayne Bay it is easy to imagine why so many people come to theVizcaya Museum and Gardens to relax. Walk through the carefully designedgardens and explore the orchidarium, then tour the house. For a more informedexperience, rent a 90-minute audio tour.
James Deering chosethe site for its tropical climate and proximity to the ocean. Being fromChicago, Illinois, the farm machinery entrepreneur came to Miami to enjoy thewarmer weather in winter. The Italian-inspired architecture combines stylesfrom the 15th century through early 20th century. The 34 decorated rooms of thehouse are full of furniture imported from Europe.
By 1955, the houseand village had become the property of Dade County and was used for diplomaticpurposes. The residence has since hosted many famous leaders, such as QueenElizabeth II, President Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Queen Sofia andKing Juan Carlos I of Spain. To help preserve the facility, the once open-aircourtyard was enclosed by glass. Nowadays, you can catch a film a here duringthe popular movie nights.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is situated near downtown Miami in north Coconut Grove. It is open every day, except Tuesdays, Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day. Visit the café for a bite to eat, as you are not allowed to bring in outside food. Souvenir hunters can stock up at the Gardens Shop.