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Ca' d'Zan: The Palatial Winter Mansion of John and Mable Ringling in Sarasota, Florida

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View of the Outside of The Ca' d’Zan in Sarasota, Florida, United States

View of the Outside of The Ca' d’Zan in Sarasota, Florida, United States

Ca' d'Zan in Sarasota, Florida

Unlike Europe, few homes are called palaces in the United States. The John and Mable Ringling winter home in Sarasota, Florida, would certainly qualify as such. Ca' d'Zan, which means "House of John" in the Venetian dialect, is the title for this stately 30-room home.

My mother and I were visiting with my aunt and uncle who reside in Florida part of the year. They decided to show us this home, the Ringling Museum of Art, and the Circus Museum, which are all contained on the grounds of this massive estate.

The side of a home facing the water is most often the most elaborate, and Ca' d'Zan does not disappoint. This mansion (built in 1927) sits on the waterfront of Sarasota Bay. The West Facade of Ca' d'Zan is spectacular! Intricate marble flooring and carved decorated railings would have greeted the guests arriving by boat.

Few people except the very wealthiest could have had a home like this constructed. A circus empire helped create the wealth that the Ringling's enjoyed. John Ringling became one of the wealthiest people on earth back in that time.

The address: 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, Florida 34243

360 Degree View of Exterior of The Ringling Mansion by the Water.

Ringling Mansion

Many architectural styles—including Italian Renaissance, Venetian Gothic, Baroque, as well as modern—merged to create this grand palace commissioned by John and Mable Ringling for their winter home.

The vast 66-acre estate contains beautiful gardens and museums. The Ringling Museum of Art and later the Circus Museum were additions to these landscaped grounds.

The estate (including the mansion, grounds, museums, and contents) now belongs to the State of Florida for the benefit of its citizens after the demise of John Ringling. Mable had preceded him in death. Both of their graves are on the grounds near the 27,225 square foot beautifully designed garden.

The legacy left behind for everyone to enjoy consists of a beautiful collection of elegant furnishings and art as well as the architecture consisting of intricate designs and artistry.

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We were visiting there in 1997, and at that time, Ca' d'Zan was being restored to return to its 1920s appearance. Everywhere one looks, details emerge.

  • The Court, which is the magnificent 30-foot-high living room, is pretty much the focal point of the house with the other rooms organized around it.
  • Onyx-faced columns on the first floor become covered with terracotta on the second floor.
  • Ceilings are works of art. Elaborate designs of paint and inlaid tile and other materials have one gazing up.
  • Windows are a colorful mixture of stained glass with unique designs.
  • Gorgeous wood paneling is used in many places throughout the mansion.
  • The furnishings and paintings were the best that money could buy and fill each room with beauty and a sense of luxury.

Many of the rooms are open for public viewing. Prepare to be overwhelmed with opulent views of how the Ringlings lived.

Events Held on The Ringling Mansion Patio

This historic building is now utilized for many events, including such things as regularly scheduled teas, lunches, etc., on the bayside patio.

Memberships are available for purchase, and one can enjoy the ambiance of living like the very wealthy if even for merely a moment in time.

I hope that you enjoyed this look at the stately winter home of John and Mable Ringling in Sarasota, Florida. If you have visited this attraction, please leave impressions of your visit in the comment section below. Thanks!

Narrated Tour of the John Ringling Mansion with Some Background Information


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

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