Perhaps best known for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle in Orlando, Universal Studio’s Hogwart's Castle, and Ripley’s Moorish style Warden Castle in St. Augustine, Florida lays claim to several less publicized castles built in the Gilded Age by the country’s nouveau riche.
Miami’s Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, for instance, is a National Historic Landmark built by agricultural industrialist James Deering. What was then the Deerings’ winter home on 180 acres along the Biscayne Bay is now a museum on ten acres exhibiting his includes international art collection spanning 2,000 years and exotic orchid collection. Modeled after historic Italian manor homes, Vizcaya was intended to look old from the onset and was furnished with antiques combining Italian and French Renaissance design elements. Although it was designed and built as an open-air floor plan exposed to both the sounds and scents of the surrounding natural environment and wildlife, the humid weather and recurring hurricanes have required the enclosure of the courtyard. The museum is open daily except for Tuesdays, Christmas and Thanksgiving.