Christmas Lingers at Ca D’Zan

Ringling wreathsMost Christmas trees are cleared out by New Year’s Day, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that Sarasota’s Ca D’Zan, the mansion where America’s most famous circus family lived, was still decked out for the holidays this week. And why not? The 36,000-sq-foot Venetian palace, which sits on the Sarasota Bay as if it were a cleaner, bluer version of the Grand Canal, certainly isn’t short on space. They can leave the Christmas decorations up for as long as they want.

Ringling Christmas tree

Christmas 2011 at Ca' d'Zan Mansion

Yesterday was my first time inside Ca d’Zan, which means “House of John” in Venetian dialect and was built for John and Mabel Ringling in 1925. Twice before, I had visited The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL, which  consists of several buildings that includes Ca D’Zan. The first time I went to the museum, in February 2009, I was very taken with the dramatic exterior of Ca d’Zan but it was too late in the day so they had stopped admitted visitors.

So I wrote this post, focusing on the amazingly intricate Tibbals Miniature Circus that’s housed in another building. The second time I went to The Ringling Museum in February 2011, I spent all of my time in the main art part, totally taken by Ringling in Bloom, an innovative exhibit where floral designers created arrangements to match the masterpieces. Three times is a charm because yesterday I finally made it inside Ca D’Zan.

I didn’t take a guided tour, so I just walked around the ground floor, where I found plenty to see — and photograph.

Ca D'Zan

The Tap Room at Ca D'Zan: How cool would it be to have your own bar? No need to go out...

Ca D'Zan dining

Formal Dining Room: Check out the ceiling!

Ca D'Zan breakfast

The Breakfast Room: an airy, elegant alternative to the formal dining room.

living room ringling

Grand Court: Another view of the magnificent grand court, also seen up top with the Christmas tree.

grand staircase Ca D'Zan

The Grand Staircase: This marble staircase may not be that exciting, but it's interesting to note that it was one of the first of it's kind in Florida.

Ringling Museum

The exterior of Ca D'Zan: A partial view. I see Moorish influences as well as Venetian, do you?

Ca D'Zan tower

Close-up of the Ca D'Zan tower -- amazing detail!

sarasota bay dock

Ca D'Zan's dock on Sarasota Bay has such a beautiful pattern.

This Gilded Age mansion could easily compete with the Newport, RI, mansions. It would also fit right in with the mansions in Sintra, Portugal, about which I’ll be posting soon. Seems like I can’t get enough of historic mansions these days!



One Response to Christmas Lingers at Ca D’Zan

  1. wandering educators
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    January 16, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    we need a dock like that, on our lake.. 😉
    what a gorgeous place!
    wandering educators recently posted..It’s a Turkish Delight on a Moonlit Night

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