3251 South Miami Avenue Miami, FL 33129
Today one of South Florida’s leading attractions, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens provides a window to both the history of Miami, graced by the villa since it completion in 1916; and to the Italian Renaissance, represented in the Museum’s architecture. Its art and furnishings portray 400 years of European history. Vizcaya was originally an estate of 180 acres, designed to resemble a typical Italian villa, self-sufficient, with a dairy, poultry house, mule stable, greenhouse, and staff residences. The house and gardens are the creation of three architects: F. Burrall Hoffman designed the buildings; Diego Suarez planned the gardens; and Paul Chalfin was the general artistic supervisor for every phase of the project. Together they created an estate that looked as if it had been lived in by succeeding generations of the same family with each generation adding their own period furnishings of the time. All of the decorative elements including furniture, lighting fixtures, doors and fireplaces were purchased by Deering on shopping expeditions throughout Europe. The house took two years to build. The formal gardens were not completed until 1921 due to the outbreak of World War I. During construction, 1,000 workers were employed, representing nearly 10% of Miami’s population. In 1952, Miami-Dade County purchased Vizcaya and opened it as a museum. Extensive restoration has brought the house and the remaining 50 acres back to the way they appeared in Deering’s day. Nearly 200,000 people visit Vizcaya each year including some of the world’s leading dignitaries such as President Reagan, Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth of England and King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain. In 1994, the historic Summit of the Americas was held at Vizcaya with President Clinton and the 34 leaders of the Western Hemisphere. Vizcaya, possessing national significance to the history of the United States, has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Vizcaya is accredited by the American Association of Museums.
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