Villa Vizcaya is a villa in a North Italian sixteenth-century style— the Villa Rezzonico at Bassano del Grappa was the basic inspiration— on the remains of an estate in Miami, Florida, that was designed for James Deering as a winter residence. Deering's advisor in assembling the architectural elements to be incorporated in the villa was the decorative painter Paul Chalfin; the architect Chalfin recommended, who drew together the disparate collection into a harmonious whole, was F. Burrall Hoffman. Villa Vizcaya is open as the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, which consist of the Villa and its grounds, and the museum's collections. The gardens now cover 10 acres (40,000 m²) of land on Biscayne Bay. It contains over 70 rooms decorated with 16th through early 19th century furnishings and European decorative art. Thirty-five rooms are currently open to the public.
By virtue of the construction of Villa Vizcaya, the socially retiring James Deering was a major figure in Miami's early history. He inherited a position as a Vice President of the International Harvester Company, the trust that combined the former rival McCormick and Deering harvester manufacturing corporations. Deering used Villa Vizcaya as a winter home from 1916 to the time of his death in 1925.
In 1952, Miami-Dade County purchased the estate's buildings, then in decline, for $1 million in revenue bonds and Deering's heirs donated the estate's furnishings and art to the County. The villa and botanical garden are currently owned by Miami-Dade County and are located at 3251 South Miami Avenue in Coconut Grove. It is currently a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public daily except for Christmas Day. (...) more…
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