OCEAN DRIVE, Casa Casuarina

Audio File length: 2.40
English / USA Language: English / USA

It was July 15th, 1997, when shots rang out at 1114 Ocean Drive. On the steps of the magnificent mansion you’re admiring, the lifeless body of the famous Italian designer Gianni Versace was found. A drug addict named Andrew Cunanan was accused of his murder; unfortunately, however, Cunanan was unable to defend himself against the charges as his body was found just days later on a houseboat in Miami Bay, so the famous Italian stylist’s death has remained a mystery.

Sadly, as is often the case, this brutal crime has made this marvelous villa more famous than ever. Built in Mediterranean style in 1930 by the architect Alden Freeman, the building was soon purchased by Jacques Amsterdam, who divided it into apartments and renamed it “Amsterdam Palace”. In 1992, it was sold to Gianni Versace, who added a south wing and a swimming pool. As you can imagine, Versace opened the doors of his villa to the most famous personalities of the international jet set.

It was not until 2000 that Versace’s residence was bought by the millionaire US businessman Peter Loftin, for the modest sum of $19 million. Loftin had the property restored, creating a restaurant, a hotel and a venue for exclusive events, but the villa was recently sold again for $60 million, and now belongs to the famous former soccer star, David Beckham.

Today the building is an exclusive, extremely luxurious hotel, which hosts just 10 lucky guests at a time.

Looking around, you’ll see numerous curious onlookers taking pictures of the villa, perhaps hoping to spot one of the celebrities that often treat themselves to a few relaxing days in the hotel’s refined rooms. From the outside, you can admire the solid cream-colored façade of the building, with its large, solid wooden door and impressive stone frame. You won’t be able to see beyond the tall palm trees and the iron gate, so all you can do is wait patiently in the hope of spotting one of the many famous actors or international celebrities who frequent the hotel.  

 

An interesting fact: legend has it that the original name of the residence when it was built in 1930 was Casa Casuarina, in honor of the only tree left standing on the plot in the wake of the hurricane that hit South Florida in 1926.

Our visit to Ocean Drive ends here. MyWoWo would like to thank you - see you again at another Wonder of the World!

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