To find the best attractions in historic Miami during a vacation to Solara Surfside, one needn’t look further than Coral Gables. While South Beach’s Art Deco skyline is the iconic image most often associated with Miami, an exclusive section of the city known as Coral Gables holds an equally memorable attraction: the gorgeous Venetian Pool. It is perhaps the only public pool in America to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
What is the Venetian Pool?
Fed by underground Artesian wells, the Venetian Pool looks like something out of a 1920s movie set. It’s an improbable Mediterranean-style lagoon right in the heart of historic Miami: a luxe oasis replete with elegant porticos, vine-covered loggias, and a large Spanish-style fountain. It even has dramatic waterfalls that cascade into the lagoon. As if all that weren’t enough, the Venetian Pool has its own coral rock caves and palm-shaded island. If you are visiting Solara Surfside resort, taking a trip to this natural beauty is well worth the short drive.
Well-hidden behind stucco walls and wrought iron gates, the Venetian Pool is a former limestone quarry pit. It was transformed in 1924, when visionary developer George Merrick was shaping Coral Gables. Merrick envisioned a Mediterranean-style city of plazas, fountains and esplanades, an orderly and beautiful counterpart to the urban sprawl he saw occurring in Dade County where he was also a commissioner.
This forward-thinking leader saw his dream become reality as Coral Gables echoed the most beautiful cities in Europe (a story not unlike the creation of famed Palm Beach). With the help of Merrick’s artist uncle, and architect Phineas Paist, Venetian Pool became a magnet for luminaries like Esther Williams and Tarzan’s Johnny Weissmuller.
At the peak of its luminescence, Coral Gables’ famed lagoon served as the backdrop for elegant dances; visiting VIPs were taken there and treated to specially coordinated parades of bathing beauties. While the pool was recently renovated, it fully retains its original design and feel and its rich history remains on display.
The Coral Gables that was born in the ’20s is very much intact today, rightfully protected by city ordinances and known as one of the most exclusive and desirable communities within greater Miami.
If you’re going with your children, be advised that kids must be 3 years old and 38″ high to enter Venetian Pool. The Venetian Pool is only closed for 5 holidays a year, and pool hours vary from day to day and season to season but you can count on 10:30 – 4:00. Entrance fees also vary by age, season and membership. The Venetian Pool is definitely worth taking a look at, or a dip in, during a vacation to Miami.