The Ca’ d’Zan is a Sarasota waterfront sight to be seen. If you are ever in the area, a visit to the Ringling Estate is a must. A stroll along the rose garden and the grounds take you back in time to an era of flapper dancers and extravagant parties.
Ca’ d’Zan, A Winter Residence
John and Mable not only fell in love with painted art in Europe, they also discovered Mediterranean architecture. The Ca’ d’Zan’s beautiful look is inspired by the grandeur of Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy and the minaret of the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain. Ca’ d’Zan means “House of John” and though it holds Ringling’s name, he actually had it built for Mable. The house was completed in 1926, five years before the museum opened its doors to the public.
Though the Ringling’s had big plans for the area their involvement in Sarasota was often at the hesitation of local High Society. Even though they were one of the wealthiest couples in the world at the time, the carnie folk stigma was strong. They simply hadn’t inherited their money, they worked for it. It seems that all over Sarasota you can find John’s attempts at fitting in with buildings and plans for the town’s future, making Old Money Sarasota aware of New Money presence which was rumored to never truly accept the Ribglings as a part of their clique. The Ringlings’ palatial winter residence however, attracted the Governor of New York as well as the Mayor and celebrities like Will Rogers and Billie Burke.
The Ca’ d’Zan is one of my favorite parts of The Ringling Estate, for so many reasons, though if I had to pinpoint one it would be the feeling; I imagine what it was like to walk around the grounds of this gorgeous waterfront property. Every time I go, I think about all the wonder that the Ringling’s saw as they traveled the world with their circus.
The architecture is stunning, everywhere you look there are little reminders of the distant travels The Ringling’s took and the details of wanderlust they brought back with them. With every turn of a corner inside the house and outside there is wonder and beauty that abounds. Sitting on the balcony, over looking the water its not hard to understand why John and Mable fell in love with the views. Today, The Ca’ d’Zan stands as one of America’s architectural treasures.
The utmost best part of the Estate however, is that there is so much to do. There are some pretty amazing things to do in the Sarasota/Bradenton
area, and a visit to the Ringling is one of them. A whole day could really be spent at The Ringling and you could still leave feeling like you didn’t get a chance to see everything. From Mable’s rose gardens and tilework at the The Ca’ d’Zan, you can venture into the museum’s 31 galleries where you will be happily greeted by Rubens, Velazquez, El Greco, and Van Dyke.
Unknown to most, John and Mable were laid to rest on the property. On the northern side of The Ca’ d’Zan, across from where the pool once stood there is a small butterfly garden John and Mabel, along with Ida, John’s sister have found a quite corner of the beautiful grounds they called home.