Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Vizcaya’s gardens were designed by Colombian-born landscape architect Diego Suarez (1888-1974), who worked on the project between 1914 and 1917. Suarez adapted classical European Renaissance and Baroque landscape design to Miami’s subtropical climate and terrain, using native soil and plant materials in an aesthetic arrangement that evokes 16th and 17th century Italian and French gardens. Paul Chalfin, the property’s artistic advisor, engaged his penchant for creating intensively detailed decorative elements, and integrated into the ten acres of lush landscaping and flamboyant architecture a collection of outdoor sculpture that showcased extraordinary objects ranging from a 2nd century Roman altar to 20th century works commissioned for Vizcaya. Vizcaya’s gardens are among the best examples of Italianate gardens in the United States and are unmatched in this hemisphere for their grandeur and carefully studied historical authenticity. The estate’s gardens and outdoor collections were cited as significant contributing resources in the Museum’s 1994 designation as a National Historic Landmark. The remaining acreage consists of two critically endangered forest ecosystems, and a “village” (currently closed for restoration) as the working heart of the estate and included livestock and greenhouse facilities, mechanical shops, and staff housing.