Cà d’ Zan , the Venetian Gothic mansion belonging to the famous circus owner John Ringling, is a house unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s part circus cheek, part Venetian elegance, and all at once oddly charming. Built in 1924 and finished around Christmas 1925, it set John and Mable Ringling back 1.5 million–a princely sum in those days. Situated right on Sarasota Bay, this 36,000 square foot home is on prime real estate and with a Belvedere tower rising 81 feet, the view is a sight to behold. In total the house boasts 41 rooms and 15 bathrooms, although in person it doesn’t quite feel this large. All in all it has five stories, including a basement, and stretches two hundred feet across the waterfront.
The Mansion on the Bay
Approaching the house from the secret garden. Although on a clear day, the house sparkles, it’s particularly moody with overcast skies.
From the Main Walk
Facing the golden door where one enters the house
Turn 180 from the view of the golden door I just gave you and you’re facing an anteroom that looks into the great room to the right and a dining room which is not shown. The red is dramatic, isn’t it? Perfect for a circus family, I think.
The room directly beyond the foyer looks onto the bay. It’s a big room full of nothing too interesting except an enchanting ceiling jam packed with vignettes.
The 1920s vignette is a nice ode to the time the house was built.
The Great Room and looking up. . .
I’m a sucker for detailed ceiling work as I am alway craning my neck. Ca d’Zan does not disappoint in this regard. Everything is finished with a discriminating eye.
Hand painted on wood
View towards the bay
I think I’ll post a few more photos tomorrow as this is running longer than expected and due to other obligations I’m getting to the post rather late. So tomorrow then . . .