Why We Love Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
October 10, 2017Pola Bunster
Photo by Digital Photo Academy.
I remember the first time I ever visited Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. It didn’t fall into my childhood through the educational guise of a school field trip or the distracting effects of a big event, it came into my life passed down from my mother, who in all aspects of the term, is a true Culture Crusader. Everyone remembers the first time they see the main house walking down the lush colonnade entrance. For many of us, it’s like discovering an unbelievable treasure; for others, you just can’t believe you didn’t know about it before.
When we say Vizcaya is Miami’s best kept secret what we really should be saying is that, by whatever tradition, Miamians don’t know much about their local history. Not because they don’t care, but because no one ever taught them to. The names of George Merrick, Julia Tuttle, and even Vizcaya’s founder James Deering seem only familiar because streets, causeways, and even malls are named after them. But as Miami expands both in culture and in maturity, the curiosity to explore what actually is Miami’s history is (finally) becoming a trend.
There are many things about Vizcaya that set it apart among the rest. The fact that after 100 years the villa has still managed to preserve not only itself but also its history is a huge testament to the legacy of Mr. Deering and the many hard-working teams of individuals who inherited its upkeep along the way. A stark contrast to the modern architecture that poured out and has risen high above the city, the Italian Renaissance gardens and decadent estate might not have survived in any other circumstance. But still, this one did.
Part of Vizcaya’s magic is how, both in aesthetic and in size, the bay front villa sticks out among the rest. The museum might be celebrating its centennial this year, but it looks and feels like it has to be at least 300 years old–older than the city itself. The Mediterranean Revival architecture, the colossal gardens, the Florida limestone subjected to decades of Miami’s weather patterns–it all feels like someone forgot to cover up a loophole in a time portal. In other words, it’s a perfect place for children or to get back in touch with that inner child.
How its magic has continued to survive among the bustle is another big player in what makes it so brilliant. Teams have embarked on the largest restoration project in its history in order to ensure that the villa and adjacent Vizcaya Village can be enjoyed by future generations to come. These very same people have also expanded on a large program of events and activities that connect the museum to many of the creative disciplines that inspired Deering in the first place: art, music, and general revelry.
They even have a pretty active wellness program which, given the fact that Deering looked to South Florida’s weather to improve his health and saw Vizcaya as a place for recovery, makes it the only place from which we would have chosen to embark on the Beats Per Moment journey. The Vizcaya team has partnered with us to blend music and movement at the Vizcaya Village, bridging many cultural worlds together. Presented by lululemon and featuring the world-premiere music of Nu Deco Ensemble‘s Sam Hyken and producer Ricardo Romaniero alongside Jennifer Pansa‘s yoga flow, the event will, like Vizcaya itself, be one-of-a-kind.
We love Vizcaya not only because it’s genuinely breathtaking, from The Mound and the indoor courtyard to the expansive views of Biscayne Bay, but for what it represents: persevering through an ever-changing landscape. We love it for its cameos in films like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Bad Boys II, Any Given Sunday, and The Money Pit. We love it for its many charming secrets, as if the entire estate is winking at every guest. But most of all, we love it because among a seemingly detached society, it never lost touch with its roots.
These landmarks cannot survive without our continuous effort to keep the Vizcaya magic and story alive. As locals, we owe it to all the innovative souls that came before us to ensure that our past still plays a big role in our future. Whether you’re coming to Beats Per Moment or you still haven’t set foot on the premises, we urge you to spark that inner fire and take a day to explore the grounds. Who knows, you might even find a bit of yourself there.