Villa Zorayda Museum

Villa Zorayda Museum

Welcome to the Villa Zorayda Museum, a historic gilded age museum in St. Augustine. This home-turned-museum holds 136 years of history and gives a great 'glimpse into the Victorian era' in St. Augustine.

Villa Zorayda was first built in 1883 by eccentric Boston millionaire Franklin W Smith as his winter home. It was inspired by the 12th- century Moorish Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, built as exactly 1/10th the scale of the castle. It was made of concrete and crushed coquina shell, setting the precedence for St. Augustine architecture during the time, aka the local Moorish architecture craze.

Inside the museum, your group will find art from around the world, about 98% of it collected by the home's previous owners. Take the tour when you visit, either the 45 - 60-minute self-guided version or a docent-led/private group tour. During the tour, you will learn about the building's importance to St. Augustine, details about its design and construction, and learn about its time as a gambling casino, restaurant, and speakeasy. You will also, of course, learn more about the impressive art displayed throughout.

See...paintings, seventeenth-century furniture, beautiful hanging brass lamps, oriental rugs, and an Egyptian rug over 2,400 years old that was originally taken from one of the pyramids in Egypt.

If you happen to be here during late November through late January you should come back during the evening for the Nights of Lights Celebration special candlelight tour.

*Nights of Lights is a city-wide holiday celebration in which businesses dazzle guests with festive lights and later store hours.