Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Photo: Erik Cleves Kristensen
An unexpected European oasis by the bay
Noteworthy for: Around 10 percent of Miami’s population in the early 1900s were employed to build this palatial mansion.
Once home to American industrialist James Deering, who helped develop Miami, Vizcaya is a 34-room compound that overlooks Biscayne Bay. The Italian-Renaissance mansion, which was a farm in its former life, is surrounded by 10 acres of botanical gardens dotted with fountains and pools reminiscent of France’s Versailles.
Each room is sumptuously appointed with Deering’s personal collection of European art and antiques from the 16th to 19th centuries, and what was the cutting-edge technology of the time such as a retro telephone switchboard. With the maze and casino on sight, it is easy to spend an entire day happily wandering the grounds.