Florida Getaways of the Day
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Coral Gables: Venetian Pool is cool. Very cool.( PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CITY OF CORAL GABLES )
At more than 80 years old, the Venetian Pool, a unique Coral Gables treasure, still enchants. Even in a time and place where residential swimming pools are as common as microwave ovens and VCRs.
The site originally was a quarry from which city founder and developer George Merrick gathered limestone to construct the early roads and the surrounding Mediterranean Revival style homes. Left with an eyesore, Merrick called on his uncle, Denman Fink, a noted artist, to create a swimming pool appropriate to the Mediterranean theme of the newly minted city.
On Dec. 13, 1924, the Cinderella rock pit made its debut as the Venetian Casino and Pool. It was a breathtaking success, as opulent as a Hollywood set. Aged red brick was shoved at points into the artfully painted and layered stucco to give the structures a worn look. Pecky cypress beams were painted with designs, the towers and loggias were tiled. There were tiled fountains and a tiled fish pond, lush landscaping and a sandy beach. And, of course, in the middle, the vast irregular pool surrounded by massive coral formations.
Today the pool is a favorite place to swim and is also rented out for parties, weddings and receptions. This 820,000-gallon pool is fed by cool spring water and features two waterfalls, coral caves and grottos. And once a week, late at night, after it is drained, the pool is swept out and washed down with fire hoses.
-- Sun-Sentinel staff reports
FYI: 2701 DeSoto Blvd., Coral Gables; 305-460-5306, recorded information: 305-460-5356. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Closed on Mondays.
On the web, go to www.venetianpool.com