We last visited Vizcaya about 20 years ago and wanted to re-visit this hidden gem while in the Miami area in January. Vizcaya was the winter home of John Deering, a wealthy industrialist from the Midwest who set out to create the equivalent of an opulent European palace in South Florida.
The self-guided tour starts in the main house which contains many beautiful rooms for accommodating and entertaining Deering’s winter guests. Each room is decorated in a different style (Venetian, Parisian, Spanish, Chinese, etc.) showing the finest interior design fashions and decors of the early twentieth century. The guests back then and the visitors today can enjoy beautiful views from many of the rooms inside the house including the inside courtyard and magnificent outside gardens, as well as the vista-view overlooking Biscayne Bay. The house tour also includes a look behind the scenes of the servant’s working kitchens and food serving areas giving you the feeling of a real life Downton Abbey!
After the house tour, spend some time walking through the outside gardens and along the portico on Biscayne Bay. The views are simply stunning and are regularly used by photographers for fashion shoots (we saw a fashion shoot with several beautiful models on the day of our visit!).
Allow at least 1½ hours to fully experience this magnificent house and gardens as would a guest of John Deering many decades ago. A visit earlier in the day is recommended because it does get very warm and humid outside from noon to late afternoon. Please note that picture taking is prohibited inside the main house so you may want to purchase the tour brochure ($4) which is filled with beautiful color pictures to remind you of your visit.