Villa Casuarina’s death-defying beauty
Built in the 1930s, Villa Casuarina evokes the life of Versace before, during and after Gianni. The third most photographed home in the United States behind Graceland and The White House, Villa Casuarina has the dubious honour of being the extravagant setting of the salacious murder of the fashion icon.
Originally built by the heir to The Standard Oil fortune, Alden Freeman was also a descendant of the Mayflower, who enjoyed travelling the world and a fascination with the life of Christopher Columbus. He dreamed of creating a Bohemian society from Coral Gables to Coconut Grove, always inviting people he met from around the world to stay with him.
The mansion’s unspeakable opulence reflects Gianni Versace’s genius, including two rooms made out of seashells and another featuring entire walls covered with detailed mosaics. Unique suites include the Aviary Suite which features an extravagant world of hummingbirds and parrots with a private terrace, the Empire Suite depicting scenes of the Ottoman Empire, and the Azure Suite decorated in rich creams and blues. All suites feature larger-than-life mural-covered walls and lavish textures.
Lounge in the Mosaic Garden at the incredible mosaic swimming pool lined with 24-karat gold, which highlights Versace’s Medusa logo created by artisans in his hometown of Calabria, Italy and shipped in segments for the construction of the 54-foot pool in Miami. Enjoy Gianni’s for a beautiful Sunday brunch or dinner under the stars for the most luxurious glimpse into the setting’s glamorous past and South Beach’s best Mediterranean cuisine. vmmiamibeach.com ◼
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© This article was first published in Aug-Sept 2018 edition of World Travel Magazine.