Garden Tour: Vizcaya Estate
Welcome to Vizcaya
Discover Venetian splendor in a tropical setting at this 1916 Miami estate that continues to dazzle with its art, architecture, and landscape design.
Built in the early 1900s as the European-style winter home for industrialist James Deering, Vizcaya boasts glorious gardens as well as a small open-air house called the casino (background) that was used for parties and as a reading room. Vizcaya was named after a province in Spain's Basque region.
Gloria, an 18th-century statue that once stood in the gardens of the Bishop of Padua, gazes over the elaborate parterres of the main formal garden at the south side of the villa.
An aquatic mural on the ceiling of the villa's saltwater pool was created with real and plaster seashells by the artist Robert Chanler.
An ancient caryatid supports the entryway to a hidden shell-lined grotto.
A Venetian statue of a contadino, or country farmer, stands in front of a royal palm and a massive strangler fig.
A traditional mascaron, an old-world architectural detail often employed on entrances to keep away evil spirits, frames an archway.
One of the garden's intimate stone grottoes appears at the end of a gracious reflecting pool on the property; the pylons, carved on site, lead to the main stairway of the casino mount.
Garden of Glamour
A section of the casino mount features 18th-century Sicilian vases and columns inspired by the Villa Borghese in Rome. A eucalyptus tree in the background mingles with the natural backdrop.
Steps to Heaven
A view of the Fountain Garden, whose fountain was carved around 1772 by the same studio that crafted the one in front of Rome's Pantheon; stone tracks were laid down so that garden carts could be wheeled with ease.
A coral-rock face adds a surprising decorative element to an ornate balustrade at the Secret Garden, a small interior garden whose design was influenced by Villa Gamberaia, near Florence, Italy.
A view of the Secret Garden from one of the property's hidden stone grottoes; potted windmill palms flank its entrance.
A stucco-walled section features weathered columns and hand-carved medallions on the balustrade that give this intimate spot an ancient feel; Hawaiian ti plants serve as visual accents.
On the casino mount, 200-year-old live oaks, draped with Spanish moss and resurrection fern, evoke a tranquil oasis. Janus, the ancient god of beginnings, sits atop a Roman property marker.
Designed to look like a ship at sea, the stone-clad "barge" was the site of magnificent parties. Featuring hand-carved statues by the sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder, it serves as an important breakwater for Vizcaya.