Casa Casuarina

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The Villa, Casa Casuarina
Versace mansion - casa casuarina.jpg
Casa Casuarina also known as the Versace Mansion
General information
LocationMiami Beach, Florida, U.S.
Technical details
Floor count3
Other information
Number of suites10
Number of restaurants1

The Villa, Casa Casuarina, also known as the Versace Mansion, is an American property built in 1930, renowned for being owned by Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace from 1992 until his death in 1997. It is located on Ocean Drive in the Miami Beach Architectural District, Florida. Since 2015, it has been adapted and operates as a luxury hotel known as The Villa, Casa Casuarina.


Alden Freeman[edit]

The Villa Casa Casuarina was built in 1930 by Ronin Wolf [1] in Mediterranean Revival style, commissioned by architect Alden Freeman. It is rumored that during construction, a time capsule was hidden in one of the walls.

Freeman said the structure was modeled on the Alcázar de Colón with its Coralline rock blocks. A block from the Alcazar structure is located on the right side of the main entrance. Addison Mizner designed the interior, including the use of key lime coral flooring.[2]

The name translates to "house of the Australian pine". Commentators suggest that it was named after a W. Somerset Maugham novel, Under the Casuarina Tree, or maybe refers to a tree on the lot that survived the 1926 Miami hurricane.[3]

Major architecture features included an observatory and a small replica of the Homage Tower from the Fortaleza Ozama in the Dominican Republic.[3] About 100 medallions of notable political figures, including Lenin, Mussolini and Julius Caesar, are installed on the walls.[3]

Freeman was the son of Joel Freeman, who was treasurer of the Standard Oil Company. The younger Freeman lived in the house with his adopted son Charles Boulton and Boulton's family. He died at the house on December 29, 1937.

Amsterdam Palace[edit]

Jacques Amsterdam acquired the house for $100,000 and converted it to a 24-unit apartment building, naming it The Amsterdam Palace. It changed hands several times and was renamed as the Christopher Columbus Apartments, in commemoration of its architectural features referring to Mediterranean style.

Gianni Versace[edit]

In 1992 Gianni Versace bought the house for $2.95 million. He restored the original name and returned it to private use, creating 8 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, 3 sitting rooms, 10 bathrooms, a bar, a library, and 4 living rooms. He installed modern systems, including central air conditioning. In 1993 Versace bought the adjoining Revere Hotel (built in 1950) to the south for $3.7 million. He had it torn down in order to make a pool and garden area for his house.[4] Versace commissioned Roy Strong, an English art historian and landscape designer, to work on creating the garden. He also had created gardens at Versace's Villa Fontanelle on Lake Como in Italy.[5]

On July 15, 1997, Versace was shot dead in front of the house by Andrew Cunanan.


In 2000 the mansion was purchased by Peter Loftin for $19 million; he renovated the property for use as a boutique hotel, restaurant, and luxury event space. The restaurant was Il Sole at The Villa Casa Casuarina. The mansion was bought by VM South Beach, LLC for $41.5 million in 2013.[6] Since 2015, the Villa Casa Casuarina has been a luxury hotel with 10 unique suites. The renowned gourmet restaurant Gianni's is housed here.



  1. ^ "History – The Villa Casa Casuarina". Miami Beach. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  2. ^ "History – The Villa Casa Casuarina".
  3. ^ a b c "Versace's palace was an oil heir's mansion, grungy apartment complex and swank hotel".
  4. ^ "Versace's palace was an oil heir's mansion, grungy apartment complex and swank hotel".
  5. ^ Roy Strong (3 November 2016). Scenes and Apparitions: The Roy Strong Diaries 1988–2003. Orion. p. 190. ISBN 978-1-4746-0391-1.
  6. ^ Frank, Robert (2013-09-17). "Versace mansion's $41.5 million sale disappoints". CNBC. Retrieved 2016-12-13.

Coordinates: 25°46′55.2″N 80°7′50.2″W / 25.782000°N 80.130611°W / 25.782000; -80.130611