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Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners Miami 2011 - Venetian Pool

Venetian Pool

Venetian Pool

2701 De Soto Blvd.

Coral Gables, FL 33134

305-460-5306

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Readers' Choice: South Beach
Ever since you moved to Miami from Cleveland, you've been emailing your friends and family back home photos of flaming-pink bougainvilleas and palm fronds silhouetted by gleaming blue skies. You artfully cropped out all the eyesore condos and empty strip-mall storefronts. The jig is up, though. Ma, Pa, and Sis are coming for a visit and will finally realize that your 305 life contains about 10 percent tropical paradise and 90 percent ugly urban sprawl. Here's how to maintain the illusion a tad longer. Pick them up at Miami International Airport, blindfold them, and drive swiftly to Venetian Pool in Coral Gables. Don't take off the blindfold until they're safely inside its pastel stucco walls and wrought-iron gates. Built in 1924 from an old coral rock quarry abandoned in 1921, the lagoon-style pool is as classic-Miami beautiful as it gets. Designed by architect Phineas Paist (who also gave us the Miami Federal Courthouse), it features a Venetian-style bridge, mooring posts (no gondolas though), coral rock grottoes, a waterfall, vine-covered loggias, shady porticos, and three-story lookout towers. Every day, 820,000 gallons of water rush into the old quarry from underground artesian wells, making it the largest freshwater pool in the United States. But all the crisp, blue-green water isn't what will impress your relatives. It's Venetian Pool's lush Mediterranean atmosphere. They'll be squealing, "I can't believe you live here!" within 15 minutes of arrival. Milk it while you can. By the end of the day, you'll have to drag them around construction, road rage, and foreclosed homes en route to your crumbling duplex in Doral.
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