What Is It?
The Ca’ d’Zan, or “House of John,” was the home of circus moguls John and Mable Ringling. Along with their original home, the 66-acre estate now holds The Ringling, the State Art Museum of Florida, the Circus Museum, The Historic Asolo Theater and Bayfront Gardens.
Built in 1926, the design is inspired by the years the Ringlings spent traveling Europe to find circus acts. They loved architecture, such as Venice’s Ducal Palace, and aimed to recreate the Venetian Gothic style seen throughout the Italian city. After a full restoration of the property in the early 2000s, the mansion looks as grand as ever.
The 36,000-square-foot home sits on the waterfront with a large bayfront terrace. Terra cotta, brick and colorful tiles can be seen throughout the exterior, mimicking the Venetian style. The terrace and waterfront were once the home of the Ringling’s yacht and the couple’s decadent parties. In modern times, it hosts events and gatherings.
The home has five stories and a full basement. Art, expensive china and decadent trinkets from the Ringlings’ travels can be seen throughout the home. Famous features include an Aeolian organ with 2,289 pipes and a 82-foot-high tower with an open-air landing.
Explore the museum at 5401 Bay Shore Road in Sarasota. Entry costs $25 for adults, $23 for seniors and $5 for children. There is an additional $10 admission to tour the Ca’ d’Zan. For more information, visit www.ringling.org or call 941-359-5700.