Vizcaya is a turn of the century estate hidden in South Miami and the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a bit of quiet from the hustle and bustle of South Beach or have had enough of the sun! It’s true, we do have a bit of historical culture here in Miami, not just beautiful beaches and sunshine.
A few weeks ago, we went to the estate with some family in town from the great cold north, who were all too happy to get out and enjoy the sun without sitting on the beach. Once the winter home of wealthy industrialist James Deering, Vizcaya now serves as a museum that allows visitors to enjoy the architecture, interior design and luxury of the Gilded Age. Even if architecture isn’t your thing, the grounds of Vizcaya are worth a stroll and a great place to relax.
We spent a few hours at the site, and by far my favorite was wandering on my own. After all, travelers are curious people are we not? Free tours leave from the front entrance every 30 minutes during the winter, but I found more pleasuring in exploring the back staircases and rooms myself. The view of Biscayne Bay is not to be missed!
A bit of Vizcaya history…
Vizcaya was built as the residence of industrialist James Deering for the winter months. He was Vice President of International Harvester Company, manufacturer of agricultural equipment for the world market. Building began in 1910 and was completed in 1916, when the population of Miami was only 10,000 people. Nearly a 10th of the population was employed in building the estate!
Each room of the main house provides visitors with a rich array of artistic treasures imported from Europe, so if you are a design buff the interior is not to be missed. As more of an outdoors person, I love the gardens and the Maze Garden and Secret Garden are not to be missed. If you are at Vizcaya on a nice weekend you’ll likely spot tons of brides and girls dressed up for their quincenera’s in the gardens.
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