The Versace Mansion, Casa Casuarina was the residence of late Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace; founder of Gianni Versace S.p.A. Gianni Versace. This Italian fashion designer designed costumes for the theatre and films. He was a friend of many celebrities including: Madonna, Elton John, Cher and Sting.
In 1992, couturier Gianni Versace fell in love with Casa Casuarina; now known as “The Villa By Barton G.”
When he purchased the property, he went to battle with local preservationists after he announced his plans to tear down a neighboring hotel so he could build a pool. Versace exquisitely restored, expanded, and embellished the original structure by adding the south wing and pool.
For a fabulous Vino con Vista, stretch out on a lounge chair at ”The Thousand Mosaic Pool and Mosaic Garden” area.
The 19,000 square foot Casa Casuarina is now the home of an elegant boutique hotel. The Gianni Versace logo embellishes the ironwork fence and planters. In 1993, Versace was inspired to design a collection devoted to Miami Beach.
Every day, Gianni would stroll over to the News Cafe on Ocean Drive to have coffee and read the Italian-language newspapers and international periodicals. That was the last place he was seen on the day he was murdered. Versace was murdered on the front steps of his home by Andrew Cunanan on July 15, 1997.
This incredible Mediterranean Rivival stucture is located at Ocean Drive and 11th Street.
The notable eclectic architecture includes the dome of the private observatory, arched windows and metal ironwork.
It was originally built in 1930 as a getaway for a wealthy oil executive by architect, philanthropist, author and political reformer Alden Freeman. This Mediterranean Revival house was ”constructed partially of coral and featured exposed timbers.” The three-story palace was modeled after the Governor’s House in Santo Domingo; as “an homage to the oldest existing house in the western hemisphere, the “Alcazar de Colon” in Santo Domingo.”
In 1937, after Freeman’s death, Casa Casuarina was bought by Jacques Amsterdam, who renamed it “The Amsterdam Palace.” He operated the structure as an apartment building and most of the residents were artists.
I love the statues in the courtyard that represent the continents. Each sculpture has the names of famous people from each region engraved on the face of the statue.
Here’s a video of the Versace Spring 2012 Collection: http://www.versace.com/en/women-fashion-and-accessories/ss-2012/fashion-show-video
Today, the former home of Gianni Versace on South Beach, is a swanky hotel and restaurant called The Villa By Barton G. Barton G. Weiss is a famous restaurateur who took over the mansion in December 2009.
This elegant boutique luxury hotel also has a restaurant and space for events. There are 10 unique luxury suites that range from 500 to 3,500 square feet at this incredible oasis in the heart of South Beach. You can relax on the Rooftop Lounge, get a poolside spa treatments or request your own personal British-trained butler.
Check it out here: http://www.lhw.com/Hotel/The-Villa-By-Barton-G-Miami-FL
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com
The Villa by Barton G. is located @ 1116 Ocean Drive Miami Beach, Florida (800) 258-7503