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Miami - Vizcaya Mansion

Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
Feeling like Jay Gatsby

Have you watched "The Great Gastby"? Visiting this, I felt the set was inspired in Vizcaya... 
You'll see why.

Vizcaya mansion and its gardens is a historic residence turned museum, highlighted by Lonely Planet as one of the top 8 sights in Miami. Located right before the bridge to Key Biscayne, we felt it would be an interesting sight to travel back in time before crossing to the island. It took a while to get in - I think we queued for about 2 hours, due to the amount of families bringing their kids here during the holiday season - but it was worth it.

The history behind the Villa goes back to the 1900s, when industrialist James Deering started the Miami tradition of starting a business, making a lot of money and building ridiculously grandiose digs.

Original from Maine, James' father had inherited the family woolen mill and was landowner in the Northeast, invested in a farm-equipment manufacturing company, renaming it the Deering Harvester Company. In 1873, he moved the family to Chicago, Illinois. New 'Deering Harvester Company' reaper machinery enabled Midwestern United States farmers to harvest with substantially increased productivity which in turn increased the profitability of Midwest agriculture significantly. The Deering Harvester Company grew in value, making the Deerings one of America's wealthiest families by the end of the 19th century.

in 1910, Deering purchased land in Coconut Grove, south of Miami and started construction of Villa Vizcaya in 1914, working with top architects of the time. The Villa was completed in 1922, employing 1000 people (10% of the population at the time) during 4 years, to fulfill his desire for a home that tasted of old money and appeared to be centuries old. His obsession led him to fill the Villa with 15th to 19th century tapestries, paintings and decorative arts. He even had a monogram created for himself and paintings of fake ancestors commissioned.

Very Gastby, right?

I did a small research to test my theory. Turns out the set of the movie is apparently inspired by another waterfront mansion in New York, but there are many using the environment for Gastby-inspired weddings as well as coming out of age pictures, which are common in Asia and America - yet a rarity in Europe - as you can see in some of the last shots. There are many pictures, because few of them can't capture the grandeur of the place.

Truly a walk back in time, hope you enjoy it as much as we did...

Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
Right after getting the ticket, the route takes you through the main building.
Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
We could not take many pictures inside as any kind of photography - regardless of flash - is forbidden.
Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
The interior garden with the glass ceiling is just goals...
Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
This is the dock, right on the other side of the mansion exit shown in the first picture. There is a stone boat where I can imagine lovely evenings...
Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
After the dock, one enters the gardens
Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
Which are just amazingly manicured.
Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
Mediterranean revival architecture complemented by Italian renaissance revival gardens on its purest state.
Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
There were a couple of girls taking princess like pictures, which we found very interesting. I know that Chinese take engagement and wedding pictures in aristocratic locations (such as European castles) but I could not imagine Latina teens living in US would do the same... At least until I went to the restroom to find a Victoria Secret's backstage like set where hairdressers and makeup artists were busy ensuring their make up was on point, while a mother kindly helped one of the girls to change the humongous dress.
Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami
Vizcaya mansion and gardens, Miami

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