Vizcaya Estate Museum and Gardens is a 20th century villa in the heart of Miami. Here is a guide to exploring the wondrous estate that was once the lavish home of harvest tycoon James Deering.
TAKING A TOUR
Open year-round, you can enjoy tours of the villa and gardens where James Deering and his family once lived. You may pay an additional $5 for a guided or audio tour, or you are free to explore the estate and gardens yourself. You can visit the Vizcaya Estate, Museum and Gardens, daily from 9:30 AM to 4.30 PM except Tuesdays.
Whether you’re on your own, or plugged in, be sure to check out some of these favorite spots:
VILLA AND COURTYARD
The Italian-style villa, with its extensive beautiful garden, edges the Biscayne Bay. The rooms of the two floor villa, surround a skylight courtyard making the home feel welcoming and regal. From this outdoor nook, you can peer into the preserved library, music room, and dining room. The building became a museum in 1953. Since then, it has been the welcoming stage for elected officials, diplomats and foreign leaders like President Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II, and Pope John Paul II.
One of the most impressive structures of the estate is the Italian barge in the back of the house. The barge overlooks the bay, giving visitors a glimpse of the Miami skyline.The barge, sculpted by Alexander Stirling Calder, is a stone breakwater shaped like a boat, with intricate designs such as mystical sea creatures.
The European-inspired gardens are among the most beautiful in Miami. It’s broken up into five mysterious and exciting areas known as the Secret Garden, Theater Garden, Maze Garden, and Fountain Garden. While learning each one, enjoy an array of subtropical plants. The garden is decorated with elaborate statues and other hardscapes. Walls of coral serve as canvas to built in niches, perfect for pictures.