This National Historic Landmark, built by businessman James Deering in 1916, is one of the Miami area’s cultural highlights, and should not be missed. Vizcaya Museum itself looks like a Venetian palace, and its nearly 100-year history is as rich as the items it houses. Its location on the water, and its stunning gardens make it a versatile destination—great to visit the gardens on a warm day, or spend a few hours inside during a Florida downpour.
The collections housed within Vizcaya Museum span 2,000 years, and include North American, European and Asian artifacts and art. Also on display is a stunning collection of orchids featured in the David A. Klein Orchidarium just north of Vizcaya’s Main House. The design of the building itself is spectacular, and visitors should pay attention to its ornate features while walking through and checking out the collection. Here are some of the highlights you’ll see at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens:
The Entrance Loggia: The grand Loggia entrance was originally open to the outdoors, and features vaulting and marble work that shade visitors from the heat.
The Guest Bedrooms: Each guest bedroom at Vizcaya is named for a famous person, style, or place that its design evokes. For example, visitors can walk through the regal “Espagnolette” room, named for a decorative motif derived from ladies’ fancy lace collars. You’ll understand when you see it! The “Cathay” guest room is inspired by China, and is famous for once having housed silent movie star Lilian Gish.
Deering’s Bedroom: The bedroom of the designer himself stands at the center of the museum’s east side, and is complete with lavish oriental carpet, French-inspired wallpaper, and an exquisite fireplace.
The Gardens: The whole estate is set on 50 acres of land, which consists of Italian Renaissance gardens, and native jungle forest land that is home to local wildlife and flora.
Guided tours of Vizcaya are available daily, with English tours offered Wednesday through Monday at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. Spanish tours depart Friday at 2:00 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Please note that guided tours are subject to the availability of volunteer guides. Guided audio tours are available for an additional fee and are available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Creole.