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Miami Beach Walking Tour

By Tamara Lush

3 of 5

Versace Mansion
Miami Beach Walking Tour

Great view of Miami Beach's Versace Mansion

Tamara Lush
From the Art Deco Welcome Center, cross Ocean Drive and walk north one block, to 1116 Ocean. Stop at a large, white mansion, where lots of tourists will be snapping photos of the ornate iron gate and the tall hedges.

This is Ocean Drive’s most infamous residence. In 1992 – as the Art Deco preservationists worked to clean up a hardscrabble beach area – Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace visited South Beach, saw the home, and fell in love with it. He lovingly restored the home to its original glory and brought international celebrities to party there. (Think Madonna and Elton John). But Versace’s party ended in July of 1997, when he was shot on the steps of the mansion by serial killer Andrew Cunanan, who later committed suicide on a houseboat in Miami Beach.

The home was bought in 2000 by a telecommunications mogul, and has since been turned into a private, members-only party mansion. This may be why some tourists linger near the front gate – hoping to catch a glimpse of a star or two – but others like to capture a photo of the macabre location where Versace was shot.

The mansion’s legacy was part of South beach legend long before Versace, however. It was built in 1930 by architect and philanthropist Alden Freeman, who designed it as an homage to the oldest house in the Western Hemisphere, which is in Santo Domingo. The Spanish-style structure, known as Casa Casaurina, has an inner courtyard.

Of course, only a lucky few are able to view the inside (word has it that Versace’s pool of 10,000 mosaics is untouched), but one can still admire the mansion from the sidewalk.
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