Vizcaya, a 60-minute stunning historical documentary film that tells the story of this grand estate, through an entertaining and educational combination of on-location visuals, rich narratives, and interviews with architectural and cultural historians, reservationists, and curators. Viewers will learn about the estate's rich history, dramatic landscape, and extraordinary architecture and collections through an informal learning experience that appeals to a broad audience. Viewers will also learn about the fragility of Vizcaya and other historic sites, and the challenges of preservation that threaten these bastions of our local and national heritage.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and WPBT2 PBS collaborated to create this historical documentary film about Miami's only publicly owned and operated National Historic Landmark site. Built between 1914 and 1922, Vizcaya was the winter home of International Harvester Vice President James Deering, whose vision was to create an estate that resembled a centuries-old Italian Renaissance villa. Operated today as a public museum that is accredited by the American Association of Museums, Vizcaya is considered to be one of America's most important Gilded Age estates.
Vizcaya's story is America's story. The estate is one of the most complete remaining architectural examples from the epoch in U.S. history known as the American renaissance, when the nation's wealthy industrialists built lavish homes inspired by the traditions of the European Renaissance. This was a period marked by intense optimism and pageantry, as entrepreneurs flaunted their newly earned riches through extravagant displays of conspicuous consumption. It was also a period of tremendous growth and change, as advancements in industry and technology introduced innovations that forever changed the course of the nation and the world.
Vizcaya's story is Miami's story. Built during a time when the fledgling city was predominantly rural and unspoiled, Vizcaya provides a lens through which to view Miami as it was in the early twentieth century, prior to exploding into the international urban center that it is today.
Deering constructed Vizcaya to be largely self-sufficient to compensate for the limited services and commodities that were available at the time. The original 180-acre estate included a main house, formal gardens, and an Italian inspired farm village featuring fields for grazing livestock and growing produce, an array of barns for domesticated animals, an automobile garage, workshops, and domestic staff quarters.
Vizcaya's story is our story. It took a team of visionary designers and over 1,000 workersó about 10% of Miami's population at the time- to create Vizcaya. The estate is the product not of a few, but of many people from different backgrounds, including artists, designers, and craftsmen from Italy, Colombia, Germany, Scotland, Ireland, Czechoslovakia and the Bahamas. Their skills, combined with those of local builders who were familiar with the climate and its challenges, created a unified vision from a diverse range of traditions. In this way, Vizcaya is a symbol of the internationalism that has been a driving force in Miami, and the unique blend of cultures, languages, and traditions that make it one of the most exhilarating and cosmopolitan cities in the world.