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The Palatial Winter Mansion of John and Mable Ringling in Sarasota, Florida

Updated on September 10, 2017
Peggy W profile image

The southern states have a charm all their own. From beaches to deserts there is a wide array of landscapes to please almost anyone!

View of the Outside of The Cà d’Zan in Sarasota, Florida, United States
View of the Outside of The Cà d’Zan in Sarasota, Florida, United States | Source

Sarasota, Florida

Unlike Europe there are few homes that are called palaces in the United States. The John and Mable Ringling winter home in Sarasota, Florida would certainly qualify to be named as such.

In fact it has a name.

C`a d'Zan which means "House of John" in the Venetian dialect is the title for this palatial home.

My mother and I were visiting with my aunt and uncle who reside in Florida part of the year. They decided to show us this home and the Ringling Museum of Art and the Circus Museum which are all contained on the grounds of this massive estate.

The address: 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, Florida 34243

C`a d'Zan, the Ringling mansion in Sarasota, Florida
C`a d'Zan, the Ringling mansion in Sarasota, Florida | Source

C'a d'Zan

This mansion sits on the waterfront of Sarasota Bay. The West Facade of C`a d'Zan overlooking the water is spectacular to say the least!

Intricate marble flooring and carved decorated railings would have greeted the guests arriving by boat.

As is often the case the side of a home facing the water is the most elaborate and C`a d'Zan does not disappoint.

360 degree view of exterior of the Ringling Mansion by the water.

Few people except the very wealthiest could have had a home like this constructed.

A circus empire helped create the wealth that the Ringling's enjoyed. John Ringling became one of the richest people on earth back in that time.

Ringling Mansion

Architectural styles influenced by Italian Renaissance, Venetian Gothic, Baroque as well as modern merged to create this grand palace commissioned by John and Mable Ringling for their winter home.

The extensive 66 acre estate contains beautiful gardens and museums. The Ringling Museum of Art and later the Circus Museum were additions to these landscaped grounds.

Ringling Estate in Sarasota, Florida.
Ringling Estate in Sarasota, Florida. | Source

The estate including the mansion, grounds, museums and contents were donated to the State of Florida for the benefit of its citizens after the demise of John Ringling. Mable had preceded him in death.

The legacy left behind for everyone to enjoy consists of a wonderful collection of eloquent furnishings and art as well as the architecture itself which can be admired for its intricate designs and workmanship.

A quadrilateral cupola on The Cà d’Zan, Sarasota, Florida, United States
A quadrilateral cupola on The Cà d’Zan, Sarasota, Florida, United States | Source

We were visiting there in 1997 and at that time C`a d'Zan was being restored to return to its 1920s appearance.

The Court which is the magnificent 30 foot high living room is pretty much the central focal point of the house with the other rooms organized around it.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Wooden armchairs, carved and gilt, in The Cà d’Zan, Sarasota, Florida, United StatesA Piano in The Cà d’Zan, Sarasota, Florida, USAAn organ in The Cà d’Zan, Sarasota, Florida, USA
Wooden armchairs, carved and gilt, in The Cà d’Zan, Sarasota, Florida, United States
Wooden armchairs, carved and gilt, in The Cà d’Zan, Sarasota, Florida, United States | Source
A Piano in The Cà d’Zan, Sarasota, Florida, USA
A Piano in The Cà d’Zan, Sarasota, Florida, USA | Source
An organ in The Cà d’Zan, Sarasota, Florida, USA
An organ in The Cà d’Zan, Sarasota, Florida, USA | Source

Everywhere one looks details emerge like the onyx faced columns on the first floor which become covered with terracotta on the second floor.

The ceilings are works of art and elaborate designs of paint and inlaid tile and other materials have one gazing up.

The windows are a colorful mixture of stained glass and unique designs. Various beautiful woods were utilized throughout the house.

The furnishings and paintings were the best that money could buy and fill each room with beauty and a sense of luxury.

Many of the rooms are open for public viewing. Prepare to be overwhelmed with opulent views of how the Ringling's lived.

Narrated tour of the John Ringling Mansion with some background information about them...(Excellent video!)

Have you visited the palatial Ringling mansion in Sarasota?

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Cà d'Zan west façade. Sarasota, Florida.
Cà d'Zan west façade. Sarasota, Florida. | Source

Events Held on the Patio

This historic building is now utilized for many events including such things as regularly scheduled teas, lunches, etc. on the bayside patio.

Memberships can be purchased and one can enjoy the ambiance of living like the very wealthy if even for simply a moment in time.

Hope that you enjoyed this look at the palatial winter home of John and Mable Ringling in Sarasota, Florida. If you have visited this attraction, please leave impressions of your visit in the comment section below. Thanks!

A markerRingling Home in Sarasota, Florida -
5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243, USA
get directions

Sarasota History - Charles Ringling - Learn about John Ringling's brother and his influence as well as getting to see more beautiful homes built in this same ar

© 2009 Peggy Woods

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    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Barbara P.,

      So nice that you have gotten to enjoy visiting those magnificent places in Florida. The Ringling mansion is indeed grand and all 3 places...including the museums are well worth a visit if ever in that area. Thanks for your comment.

    • profile image

      Barbara P.-Punta Gorda,FL 2 years ago

      Going on the tour of the home of John and Mabel Ringling was a delight and what a spectacular place it was. The area surrounding was magnificent and you could imagine all the good times that were had there. The circus museum and the art museum were spectacular. That it is available to the public to enjoy and be part of their history is something you treasure.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello RM,

      I added a couple more videos showing the fabulous John and Mable Ringling mansion as well as a video at the end showing what his brother Charles also built in Sarasota and the influence they had on this town in Florida. Hope you come back and enjoy!

    • profile image

      RM 5 years ago

      Very much enjoyed the tour but would like to have seen more of the house. Iam sure they had live in servents and would like to see where they stayed.The house and grounds are beautiful really something to see.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello GmaGoldie,

      Visiting the palatial winter home of John and Mable Ringling in Sarasota, Florida...it was easy to see where some of the profits from the Ringling Brother's Circus were spent. Nice that their home and fabulous art museum can now be enjoyed by the public.

      I had never heard that quote before by Kin Hubbard. Good one! Thanks!

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Oh, such fun - almost as fun as the circus.

      "Next to a circus there ain't nothing that packs up and tears out any quicker than the Christmas spirit”

      Kin Hubbard quotes (American Humorist and Writer, 1868-1930)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello sarasota-florida,

      I would definitely agree. Anyone visiting Sarasota, Florida should set aside a day to tour the Ringling Home and adjoining Fine Art as well as Circus Museum on the adjoining property. Well worth the time spent! Thanks for the comment.

    • sarasota-florida profile image

      sarasota-florida 7 years ago from Sarasota Florida

      C`a d'Zan is amazing. It is a must see when visiting Sarasota.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Dink96,

      Great quote and appropriate to the winter home of John and Mable Ringling in Sarasota. Imagine their summer home was equally lavish. Thanks for the comment.

    • Dink96 profile image

      Dink96 8 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Absolutely breathtaking. "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a pleasure dome decree..."

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      You nailed it on the head, Jama. A palace.....yes! And marble in the bathrooms.......of course! Every aspect of the home is filled with the best building materials and embellished with luxurious attention to every detail. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Wowww.... I had no idea such a place existed in the U.S. This definitely rivals palaces in Europe, which was the idea I'd guess. The bay side brings to mind a palazzo on Lake Como. The bathtub we saw so much of in the video was carved out of marble, right? Ah, what one can do when money is no object...

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello kiran,

      As to living this way.......only the few and the super rich get to do it. The rest of us gaze with wonder.

      Hello shamelabboush,

      No argument there...the architecture is amazing!

      Hello Tom,

      Nice for the folks in Florida and visitors that they now can enjoy some of the ambiance of experiencing these riches for brief moments in time. As to living in a place like that full time...hard to imagine for most of us.

      Thanks to all of you for your comments.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 8 years ago from United States

      Indeed a palace. The photos are breathtaking. It's hard to imagine living on such a scale!

    • shamelabboush profile image

      shamelabboush 8 years ago

      The architect of this place is amazing. Very nice.

    • kiran8 profile image

      kiran8 8 years ago from Mangalore, India

      WoW ! Amazing the way people live ! Excellent details and pictures , thanks a lot :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi G-Ma,

      Yes, money can buy amazing things. No doubt about it! And the Ringlings built an empire from circus money. Those of us with less (which is the vast majority of us) can at least have glimpses of what they enjoyed. It is wonderful that they bequeathed this estate so that it can be enjoyed by the masses who are not privy to such everyday luxuries. Thanks for your comments.

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Beautiful structures...and what Money can't buy..Is amazing and the dark colors and the georgeous paintings,boy what fun it could be to decorate with money available...and no wonder they had maids and such...the chandleiers alone woweeee this was very interesting thanks...G-Ma :O) Hugs