The Ringlings' dazzling palatial mansion is a tribute to the American Dream and reflects the splendor and romance of Italy. Described as “the last of the Gilded Age mansions” to be built in America, Ca' d’Zan has 56 incredible rooms filled with art and original furnishings. With its Venetian Gothic architecture, the mansion is a combination of the grandeur of Venice’s Doge’s Palace, combined with the gothic grace of Cà d’Oro, with Sarasota Bay serving as its Grand Canal.
In 1924, construction began on Ca' d’Zan, which means “House of John” in Venetian dialect. The house was completed just before Christmas 1925, at a cost of $1.5 million.
John and Mable Ringling greatly admired the unique architectural style of the Danieli and the Bauer-Grunwald hotels in Venice, as well as the palaces that face the Venetian canals. This architectural style, called "Venetian Gothic," greatly influenced the Ca' d'Zan's design, which architect Dwight James Baum and builder Owen Burns helped bring to Sarasota for the Ringlings.
Mable Ringling had an oilskin portfolio filled with postcards, sketches, photos and other materials that she gathered on her travels to aid the architect with his design.
Ca' d’Zan is 200-foot long encompassing approximately 36,000 square feet with 41 rooms and 15 bathrooms. The structure is five stories and has a full basement. The pinnacle of the structure is the 81-foot Belvedere tower with an open-air overlook and a high domed ceiling.
Ca' d’Zan is constructed from terra cotta “T” blocks, concrete, and brick, covered with stucco and terra cotta, and embellished with glazed tile. The original roof was made from 16th century Spanish tiles imported by the builder Owen Burns. The bayfront terrace is made of domestic and imported marble.
In April 2002, comprehensive restoration and conservation was completed on Ca' d'Zan. The six year, $15 million initiative restored the mansion to the era of Mable Ringling.