World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Villa Vizcaya

Article Id: WHEBN0001426909
Reproduction Date:

Title: Villa Vizcaya  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: F. Burrall Hoffman, James Deering, Alexander Stirling Calder, Coconut Grove, Miami
Collection: Architecture Museums in the United States, Botanical Gardens in Florida, Coconut Grove (Miami), Gardens in Florida, Historic Florida Architecture 1989 Aia Survey Listings in Miami-Dade County, Historic House Museums in Florida, Houses in Miami-Dade County, Florida, Houses on the National Register of Historic Places in Florida, Institutions Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, Italian Renaissance Revival Architecture in the United States, Italianate Architecture in Florida, Italianate Architecture in the United States, Landscape Design History of the United States, Mediterranean Revival Architecture in Florida, Museums in Miami, Florida, National Historic Landmarks in Florida, National Register of Historic Places in Miami, Florida, Open-Air Museums in Florida, Outdoor Sculptures in Florida, Villas in the United States, Visionary Environments, Visitor Attractions in Miami-Dade County, Florida
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Villa Vizcaya

Vizcaya, February 2011
Villa Vizcaya is located in Miami
Location 3251 South Miami Avenue
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Area 43 acres (17 ha)
Built 1914–23[1]
Architect Paul Chalfin, F. Burrall Hoffman, and Diego Suarez[1]
Architectural style Mediterranean Revival Style; with Baroque,[2] Italian Renaissance,[1] Italian Renaissance Revival[3]
Governing body Miami-Dade County, Florida, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Trust.
NRHP Reference # 70000181[4] (original)
78003193 (increase)
Significant dates
Added to NRHP September 29, 1970[4]
Boundary increase November 15, 1978
Designated NHL April 19, 1994[2]

Villa Vizcaya, now named the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, is the former villa and estate of businessman James Deering, of the Deering McCormick-International Harvester fortune, on Biscayne Bay in the present day Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Florida. The early 20th century Vizcaya estate also includes: extensive Italian Renaissance gardens; native woodland landscape; and a historic village outbuildings compound. The landscape and architecture were influenced by Veneto and Tuscan Italian Renaissance models and designed in the Mediterranean Revival architecture style, with Baroque elements. Paul Chalfin was the design director.

Miami-Dade County now owns the Vizcaya property, as the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, which is open to the public. 'Villa Vizcaya' is served by the Vizcaya Station of the Miami Metrorail.


  • History 1
  • Preservation 2
    • Vizcaya Museum and Gardens 2.1
      • State occasions 2.1.1
      • Popular culture 2.1.2
  • Gallery 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
    • Reference books 5.1
  • External links 6


The estate property originally consisted of 180 acres (730,000 m2) of shoreline Mangrove swamps and dense inland native tropical forests. Being a conservationist, Deering sited the development of the estate portion along the shore to conserve the forests. This portion was to include the villa, formal gardens, recreational amenities, expansive lagoon gardens with new islets, potager and grazing fields, and a village services compound. The villa was built primarily between 1914 and 1922, while the construction of the extensive elaborate Italian Renaissance gardens and the village continued into 1923. During the World War I years building trades and supplies were difficult to acquire in Florida. Vizcaya is noteworthy for adapting historical European aesthetic traditions to South Florida's subtropical ecoregion. For example; it combined imported French and Italian garden layouts and elements implemented in Cuban limestone stonework with Floridian coral architectural trim and planted with sub-tropic compatible and native plants that thrived in the habitat and climate. Palms and Philodendrons had not been represented in the emulated gardens of Tuscany or Île-de-France.

Vizcaya: Entrance drive view of west Villa facade.

Deering used Vizcaya as his winter residence from 1916 until his death in 1925. [5] The estate's name refers to the northern Spanish province Vizcaya, in the Basque region along the east Atlantic's Bay of Biscay, as 'Vizcaya' is on the west Atlantic's Biscayne Bay. Records indicate Deering wished the name also to commemorate an early Spaniard named Vizcaya who he thought explored the area, although later he was corrected that the explorer's name was Sebastián Vizcaíno. Deering used the Caravel, a type of ship style used during the 'Age of Exploration', as the symbol and emblem of Vizcaya. A representation of the mythical explorer "Bel Vizcaya" welcomes visitors at the entrance to the property.

Vizcaya's villa exterior and garden architecture is a composite of different Italian Renaissance villas and gardens, with French Renaissance parterre features, based on visits and research by Chalfin, Deering, and Hoffman. The villa facade's primary influence is the Villa Rezzonico designed by Baldassarre Longhena at Bassano del Grappa in the Veneto region of northern Italy.[6][7][8] It is referred to sometimes as the "Hearst Castle of the East".[9]

James Deering died in September 1925, on board the [5][10] Vizcaya began operation in 1953 as the Dade County Art Museum. The village and remaining property were acquired by the County during the mid-1950s. In 1994 the Vizcaya estate was designated as a National Historic Landmark.[2] In 1998, in conjunction with Vizcaya's reaccreditation process by the American Alliance of Museums, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Trust was formed to be the museum's governing body.


Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Mansion on the right, stone barge on the left

The Estate is now known officially as the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, which consists of 50 acres (200,000 m2) with the villa and the gardens, and the remaining native forest. The estate is a total of 50 acres (200,000 m2), of which 10 acres (40,000 m2) contain the [12]

Vizcaya: north Villa facade from the garden Casino.

Vizcaya was built with an open-air courtyard and extensive gardens on Biscayne Bay. As such, the estate has been subject to environmental and hurricane damage, the latter notably in 1926, 1992, and 2005. Miami-Dade County has granted money ($50m U.S.) for the restoration and preservation of Vizcaya. These funds have been matched by grants from FEMA, Save America's Treasures, and numerous other funders. Plans include restoration of the villa and gardens, and adaptation of the historic village compound for exhibition and educational facilities; however, additional funds are required for this. The completed first phase of this project has included rebuilding of the museum's Cafe and Shop (in historic recreation areas of the building adjacent to the pool), renovation of the East and West Gate Lodges that flank South Miami Avenue, and rebuilding of the David A. Klein Orchidarium in a plan that generally uses historic precedent. At the same time, Vizcaya has completed the first half of a major conservation program of its outdoor sculpture collections. With a consulting landscape architect, Vizcaya has too finished a comprehensive cultural landscape report, which will be a vital tool in the ongoing restoration of the formal gardens.

In 2008 the National Trust for Historic Preservation listed Vizcaya as one of America's Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places.[13] As noted by the National Trust's website, Vizcaya's inclusion on this list was based on the threat of proposed highrise development on neighboring property. Specifically, the National Trust stated: "Unless development is blocked or an intervention occurs, this cultural landscape will be permanently damaged by the construction of three high-rise condominium towers within Vizcaya's historic viewshed."[14] The proposed highrises were blocked by two court rulings and in 2010 the City of Miami included viewshed protection for historic properties like Vizcaya in its new zoning code, "Miami 21."

Other types of events are hosted by the museum to collect funds for its preservation. For example, every Halloween, Vizcaya organized a costume party, where people from all around Florida attend with their creative costumes. The cause of the event is to preserve and protect one of the jewels of South Florida.

State occasions

Vizcaya was the 1987 venue where President Ronald Reagan received Pope John Paul II on his first visit to Miami.[15][16]

Vizcaya was the 1994 location of the important 'First Summit of the Americas' convened by President Bill Clinton. This began a series of Summits of the countries in The Americas. The thirty-four nations' leaders that met at Vizcaya created the 'Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA),' that all the hemisphere's countries, except Cuba, could join for national and corporate trade benefits.

Popular culture

Vizcaya has provided the setting for many films, both credited and uncredited. Deering himself enjoyed watching silent films in Vizcaya's courtyard, and he had a particular interest in the works of Charlie Chaplin. External pictures of Villa Vizcaya, for example, can be seen in the films Tony Rome, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,[17][18] Any Given Sunday,[19] Bad Boys II, Airport '77, Haunts of the Very Rich, The Money Pit, and Iron Man 3. The music video for The Cover Girls' song "Promise Me" from 1988 was filmed at Vizcaya.[20] The music video for New Edition's song "I'm Still In Love With You" from 1996 was also filmed at Vizcaya.

Vizcaya is also an extremely popular location for weddings and other special events, given the site's architectural and natural beauty. For decades, the estate has been a target of photography, and is a favored site for photographs of women celebrating their quinceañera (15th birthday).

On April 18, 2012, the AIA's Florida Chapter placed Vizcaya on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places.[21]


See also


  1. ^ a b c "Dade County listings". Florida's History Through Its Places. Florida's Office of Cultural and Historical Programs. 2007-02-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Vizcaya". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  3. ^ "Vizcaya", by Carolyn Pitts, October 1993 "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination" (PDF). National Park Service. October 1993. 
  4. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  5. ^ a b c Vizcaya's History, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens official site
  6. ^ Vizcaya: An American Villa and Its Makers by Witold Rybczynski, Laurie Olin, Steven Brooke
  7. ^ The American Country House by Clive Aslet
  8. ^ Historic Preservation: Quarterly of the National Council for Historic Sites by National Council for Historic Sites and Buildings, National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States]
  9. ^ The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Frommer's
  10. ^ Historical Traveler's Guide to Florida by Eliot Kleinberg
  11. ^ 11 Most Endangered - Vizcaya and Bonnet House, PreservationNation - National Trust for Historic Preservation
  12. ^ Welcome to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens official site
  13. ^ Barrett, Devlin (2008-05-21). "Threats to history seen in budget cuts, bulldozers". Yahoo! News. Retrieved June 21, 2008. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Ronald Reagan Presidential Library - National Archives and Records Administration - Meeting Heads Of State And World Leaders
  16. ^ Florida Fun Facts by Eliot Kleinberg
  17. ^ Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
  18. ^ Ace Ventura - Pet Detective filming locations
  19. ^ Any Given Sunday Filming Locations at
  20. ^ [2] Cover Girls song Promise Me at YouTube
  21. ^ Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places

Reference books

  • Witold Rybczynski and Laurie Olin, authors, Steven Brooke, photographer. Vizcaya: An American Villa and Its Makers (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006). - In depth study of villa, gardens, and the creative team.
  • Laurie Ossman (text) and Bill Sumner (photographs). Visions of Vizcaya. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens/Miami-Dade County, Miami. 2006).
  • Kathryn C. Harwood. Lives of Vizcaya. Banyan Books, Miami. 1985.
  • Maher, James T. Twilight of Splendor: Chronicles of the Age of American Palaces. Boston: Little, Brown. 1975. - A comprehensive account.
  • Griswold, Mac and Weller, Eleanor. "The Golden Age of American Gardens, proud owners-private estates 1890 - 1940". Harry N. Abrahms. N.Y. 1991. ISBN 0-8109-2737-3. - A comprehensive account.

External links

  • Official 'Vizcaya Museum and Gardens' website - visitor info, tours, events, + history.
  • Aerial close-up view of Vizcaya estate property
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.