There are perhaps few locations in Miami that boast more wedding, prom, and “just because” photoshoots than Vizcaya Museum and Gardens- and for good reason. When you walk through the intricately designed arches of the property, you are stepping right into a life-sized history book.
Located in Coconut Grove, Vizcaya is the former home of James Deering. The Deering family is known for having owned the International Harvester Company, which is now referred to as Navistar International Corporation and was acquired by a brand owned by Volkswagen in July.
Vizcaya.org, the official Vizcaya Museum and Gardens website, said that the Main House was built between 1914 and 1922. The website said that the architecture was inspired by the country estates in the Veneto region of northern Italy.
Though roughly 100 years old, the grand gardens and masterful architecture of Deering’s mansion are still preserved, allowing people of all ages to gaze at the vast array of greenery and learn about the history of the scenes around them. There are two main sections to explore when visiting Vizcaya: the Main House and the Gardens.
The Main House
While the Main House may appear old-fashioned and classic now, it was very modern and chic for its time. The Vizcaya website said that the house included amenities such as generators, water filtration, heating, ventilation and an automated telephone switchboard.
The Main House and courtyard are open to visitors, who become immersed in the courtyard’s indoor jungle, luxurious bedrooms, elegant sitting rooms, spacious kitchen and more. There are also classic artifacts to see and signs posted for visitors to dig deeper into the history of their surroundings.
The Gardens, which surround the Main House, are an architectural feat of their own. When strolling through the gardens you can expect to come across arches, stairs, trees, bushes, flowers and wildlife.
The Vizcaya website describes the Gardens as a “series of rooms,” a concept which provides clear separation of one section of the Gardens from the next. Diego Suarez, the landscape architect, referenced a variety of places, including Florence and Rome when designing the formal gardens, according to the website.
The Gardens also feature the Garden Mound, an artificial hill that Vizcaya.org said was created after a concern that the formal gardens would blend into the jungle behind them. There was also a fear that, with the original concept, light would reflect off of the water, blinding the eyes of visitors trying to view the Gardens.
The architecture is complemented by various species of plants. Vizcaya’s website said that Deering decided to preserve the rockland hammock, the natural forest in the area where Vizcaya was built, building the mansion by the water instead of by destroying the forest.
The well-preserved plants and architecture in the Vizcaya Gardens are now filled with tourists with their cameras out ready to snap that perfect shot of the scenery around them. Strolling the grounds you may catch a glimpse of multiple photoshoots- or decide to hold one yourself!
How to Visit Vizcaya Yourself
- Vizcaya is located at 3251 S Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33129
- Tickets are $22 for adults and a membership is also available
- Vizcaya is open Thursdays through Mondays starting at 9:30 a.m. each day
- Students under 22 can sometimes get limited $5 tickets at https://cultureshockmiami.com/events/vizcaya-museum-and-gardens
words & photo_ainsley vetter.