Mediterranean Elegance in Miami: Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

An oasis just minutes from downtown Miami, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a beautiful place in which to linger and imagine what life must have been like in the early 20th century, when the villa was built. James Deering had the Vizcaya Villa built for himself between 1914 and 1922. The villa’s architecture reflects an elegant (and glamorous) Mediterranean Revival style, and the extensive adjacent gardens exhibits a stunning Italian Renaissance style.
I visited this elegant sanctuary in late December 2017, after disembarking from a Disney cruise in Miami. Our flight back home was scheduled for mid-afternoon, and I wanted to do something quick but fun. I am a photographer, so it had to be someplace worth photographing. Vizcaya certainly fit the bill: it was only a 10-minute drive from the cruise terminal, and the architecture and scenery looked perfect for capturing beautiful photos.
Vizcaya opens at 9:30am, and we arrived just prior to opening. I’m very glad that we arrived early. There was plenty of parking when we arrived at 9:15am. That quickly changed: the lot literally filled up within ten minutes! There is an overflow parking lot, but that lot is located well-away from the museum and gardens.
We had to queue very briefly while we waited for the ticket office to open. But, once it opened, we got our tickets and walked right into the villa (which essentially is the “museum”).
The inside of the museum was gorgeous, and the gardens were even better. Here are some photos of what we saw…
First the inner courtyard of the museum, which used to be a mansion:






Some stained glass inside of the museum – love the seahorse:


Exterior of the museum itself, as seen from the back:


A walkway lined with palm trees:


View of the museum, a “barge” in the water (back in the early part of the 20th century, they used to have parties there), and downtown Miami peeking out:


A cacti garden:


Other parts of the vast gardens:






A friendly lizard:


One of the many garden sculptures:


A gorgeous pavilion:


Inside of the pavilion, looking back at the museum:


Beautiful frescoes inside of the pavilion:


More of the gardens, including a tranquil waterfall:




We loved our time at Vizcaya – my son did not want to leave! But, alas, we had to fly back home. So, we left after staying for at least an hour and a half (it doesn’t take too long to tour the entire estate, but it’s the type of place where you can spend all-day lingering).
If you’re ever in Miami, I highly recommend a visit to this amazing estate!


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