John and Diana are traveling around the country with a 37-foot RV and an 18-year-old cat. This is their story.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
This is another house built during the Gilded Age, an age of extravagance and grandeur. The interior of the home is furnished with elegant European art objects which mostly reflect Renaissance Italy. Decorative furnishings and art objects span 400 years. While James Deering lived there it was an open-air home, but since then it has been enclosed in glass to protect the contents of the home. James Deering was an industrialist, owner of a company which eventually became known as International Harvester. The back of this mansion looks out over Biscayne Bay. The sculpted barge pictured below served a practical purpose as it provided a calm area of water between the house and the bay. It was also another place for Deering to entertain his guests. Such an object is known as a "folly", something which is meant to please and surprise ones friends. Maybe I have already defined that word in another posting.
There are many small gardens on this ten-acre estate, divided by hedges and walls. Pictured below is what Deering called his secret garden. Deering really wanted orchids around his gardens, but then he realized that what worked best in southern Florida were tropical plants.
The gardens have many sculptures from Italy. One area of the grounds has a theater garden, complete with a stage and the figures of Harlequinade and Pierrot. I believe those characters are from a sixteenth century Italian comedy. The garden even had a place for the audience to sit. Of course, no stage play was produced in this garden, it was just something to look at and admire. There are also pools and fountains located around the estate, Mr.Deering liked to surround himself with the sound of water.
You may notice a bride in the background of this picture. The day we were there we noticed that in several of the gardens preparations were being made for weddings which were to occur later in the afternoon. Mr. Deering certainly had a beautiful place for his own wedding, but he remained a bachelor all his life.