Formerly known as Villa Vizcaya, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens was originally the home of International-Harvester magnate James Deering. Seemingly surrounded on all sides by subtropical jungle, Vizcaya is wrapped in silence, the gentle embrace of art, and the mystery of time.
Designed to be a modern, subtropical interpretation of an 18th century Italian villa, the mansion is a work of art in itself to the same degree as the art within its walls. Mediterranean elements mix with Spanish flair, modern features, and Art Deco to create a unique and captivating picture facing Biscayne Bay.
The museum contains works of art spanning over a thousand years from ancient Rome to Chinese ceramics and contemporaneous artists of Deering’s day. The home’s art collection was under the charge of Paul Chalfin, Deering’s artistic director, who brought in nearly everything found in the museum and gardens today. See everything from ancient Roman sculptures to Renaissance works, oil paintings, tapestries, and furniture filling every room of the home.
The gardens are said to be the heart of Vizcaya’s personality and so are kept historically accurate whilst evolving with the times, much like Vizcaya itself. Much of the gardens has been recreated from original landscape designs to maintain accuracy and precision. Within the gardens you can find a number of sculptures and artistic features including the central element in the Fountain Garden, designed by the same architect who created the fountain in front of the Roman Pantheon.
Vizcaya is more than a museum. The jungle villa is more like a silent yet vibrant living representation of art and history, a composite of old and new blending into a stunning display of artistic appreciation for everything visual.