Jan. 23

 

HISTORIC HOUSE TOUR: Come See the Gardens at Miami’s Vizcaya

by Lynn Byrne

By Lynn Byrne.  While I hope I wowed you with a view of the inside of Villa Vizcaya earlier this week, the gardens and outside of the mansion are even more spectacular. The gardens were designed with a European aesthetic by Diego Suarez, but many plants native to Miami are used. This old picture of the Villa from 1916 (the year the house was done) shows how stark it looks without the landscaping. It took an additional 6 years to complete the planting. 

The water view elevation of Vizcaya shown in the first photo is centered on the stone Baroque-style barge created as a folly and to serve as a breakwater. I showed you a glimpse of the barge in my post on the inside of Vizcaya. 

Originally, the barge was planted, as  you can see from this photo from 1934. 

There are a number of garden follies on the grounds, including the charming lattice tea house, located nearby the barge. 

Perhaps the most elaborate folly, is the structure known as the Casino. The wedding ceremony that I attended was located right in front of it, in an area called the Mound. Everything was lit by candles except for some garden lighting for the structure. It was gorgeous, but hard to catch with my point and shoot camera.  

Look how elaborate the ceiling is in the Casino. Remember this is a garden structure!  

Leading up to the Casino are these steps. Pretty at night too.   

Adding to the fantasy feeling of the grounds of Vizcaya, are the young women posing in formal wear around the property. Vizcaya is a very popular setting for photo shoots of girls celebrating their quinceanera, or 15th birthday.  

Of course Vizcaya has a swimming pool. It’s Florida, after all. The pool is tucked around the side of the building and part of it is covered. Homeowner James Deering is said to have only swam in it once, with his cigarette lit! 

Take in these pretty shots I snapped as I walked around. 

Obviously I think this place is well worth a visit if you are ever in Miami.

Except for the vintage photos which are from Visions of  Vizcaya, all photos by me. 

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