Agricultural industrialist James Deering built this gorgeous, sprawling Miami estate in 1916. Deering spent his winters on Viscaya for the next nine years until his death in 1925. Deering’s estate was inspired by centuries old European villas and of its 34 rooms; several are decorated with antiques and furnishings from the 15th to the 19th centuries. In 1994, Viscaya became a National Historical Landmark.
James Deering’s Vision
Decorated in the style of a grand European estate, Deering’s Viscaya exists as a tribute to art and nature. Deering himself was a passionate environmentalist who made a number of architectural decisions that supported his appreciation of the environment. Deering’s decision to build Viscaya facing Biscayne Bay was only one example of his love of nature. He chose to build his winter retreat in Miami in part because of his appreciation of the native hardwood hammock. Even throughout the grand main house, Deering’s love of nature can be seen in his choice of paintings. Even the decor occasionally reflects the wonder of the South Florida landscape – and the beauty of Viscaya’s grottos and gardens didn’t escape the notice of Martha Stewart herself, in this slideshow.
Nature and Beauty
Featured in many films, Viscaya’s unique beauty makes it one of the most noted and beautiful historic homes in America. The gardens are one of the most extradionary features of Viscaya, taking up ten acres of the estate’s fifty acres. At the time of its construction, Deering hired an estimated 1/3 of Miami’s population to build the grand house and the gardens. Stepping into Viscaya’s lush Italian-inspired gardens is like stepping back in time to the 16th century: water fountains, rich foliage, and hidden caves all make this an exotic and timeless hideaway. In keeping with Deering’s vision, Viscaya is a place where the beauty of Florida’s natural landscape meets the mosaic of the past.
If You Go
To learn more about Viscaya’s programs for children and adults, call 305-250-9133 or go here. Viscaya is open daily except for Tuesdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Hours are from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Adults are $15, students and seniors are $10, kids 6 and older are $6, kids 5 and younger are free.