Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Designed by beaux arts–trained painter Paul Chaflin as a winter residence for early Miami developer James Deering, the 1916 estate at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens (3251 S. Miami Ave., 305/285-9133, http://vizcayamuseum.org, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. daily, $15 adults, $10 seniors and students, $6 children 6–12, children 5 and under free) is one of the Miami area’s most beautiful sights.
Deering himself only lived here for a little less than a decade, but the house, known as Villa Vizcaya, has all the elegance and opulence of a Gilded Age masterpiece, with 34 rooms decorated in various sumptuous European antiques that reflect the mishmash of Mediterranean revival and Italian Renaissance revival architecture that Chaflin employed in the house’s construction.
The 10 acres of formal botanical gardens are decorated with antique statuary shrouded by dense tropical foliage, making for something of a mysterious walk-through experience.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition