Unless you’ve been living under a rock your entire life, you’ve at some point heard the name of fashion designer Gianni Versace or Versace Mansion, or seen a star or two strolling down the red carpet flashing one of his brand’s exceptionally crafted Versace dresses that probably cost more than your car. Yeah, we’re talking about THAT Versace, as in one of the biggest fashion empires in the world with a massive collection that includes everything from apparel and accessories to fragrances, cosmetics, and even home furnishings.
It’s incredible to think this guy went from working as an apprentice at his mother’s sewing business to founding one of the largest and most famous fashion houses in the globe. Even after his death in 1997, Gianni Versace’s name, as well as his brand, continue to live on. Much like his designs, Gianni Versace’s former mansion in Miami is every bit the spectacle of pure decadence that you’d expect from the fashion giant. Join us as we take an inside look at Gianni Versace’s life, his career, and his lavished mansion.
Gianni Versace Mansion Miami
Gianni Versace’s mansion in the sunshine state stands out as a prime example of what a fashion designer’s home should be. Built in 1930 as an apartment complex by Standard Oil heir Alden Freeman, the Spanish Colonial-style structure originally featured 24 apartments that Alden used to facilitate friends and other visitors. In 1937, following Freeman’s death from illness, the property was purchased for $100,000 by Jacques Amsterdam and renamed Amsterdam Apartments.
It would continue to change hands and exist as apartments until 1992, when Gianni, enamored with Miami at the time, noticed the bronze statue of Greek goddess Aphrodite that decorated the front entrance of the property (a statue that was commissioned by Freeman and had resided on the property since he had ownership) and decided he had to purchase it. Versace nabbed the complex for a meager $2.95 million along with the Revere Hotel next door for $3.7 million.
After throwing down a staggering $32 million on renovations and expansions which included actually knocking down the neighboring hotel to make way for a garden, pool, and south wing, Gianni Versace’s 23,000 square foot Miami palace was finally beginning to take shape. The 24 units in the building were converted into 10 spacious suites; additionally, the finished home featured a library, a bar, 10 bathrooms, 3 living rooms, 2 kitchens, and a swimming pool with 24-karat gold mosaic tiles.
Versace home also featured some of the most exotic, beautiful artwork and furnishings available at the time – all commissioned (and some even designed) by Gianni himself. The exterior of the property, protected by a black wrought-iron gate trimmed in gold, was home to a lush, tropical garden with a large medusa head mosaic built at the very center. On the third story of the home, Versace even installed a rooftop observatory painted navy blue with gold stars.
Some massively famous names once wined and dined with Versace at this home – including friends Princess Diana, Elton John, and Madonna. In fact, close friends of Gianni were assigned their own specific rooms when they decided to stay the night.
All suites were outfitted with only the finest décor, but it was Gianni’s master suite that really stole the show – which not only had a private balcony overlooking the front of the property but also a lavished drawing room attached to his bedroom – all of which was decorated with vibrantly colored fabrics and extravagant artwork.
For his family, Gianni designed special rooms for his closest relatives that suited their taste – the “Azure Suite” was designed in light powder blue for his nephew Daniel, the “Signature Suite” was designed for his brother Santo, the “Aviary Suite” was for his niece Allegra, and finally the “Venus Suite” was created especially for his beloved sister Donatella.
Donatella Versace’s room, in particular, was the grandest of all the family suites, boasting a whopping 1,500 square feet and featuring the only double balcony that overlooked the garden. The ceiling featured a mosaic of white roses, painted in Milan by artist Fontana Decorazioni and imported to Miami specifically for her suite.
The Versace mansion where Gianni lived and was tragically murdered is located at 1116 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, Florida 33139. The building is part of the Art Deco historic district in South Beach.
Who owns the Versace mansion?
After Gianni’s death in 1997, the Casa Casuarina was left to the Versace family, who would go on to sell the home in 2000 for $19 million to Peter Loftin, a wealthy entrepreneur. Loftin transformed the property into a luxury boutique hotel and restaurant. After some financial troubles, however, Loftin was forced to go bankrupt, and the Casa Casuarina was sold at auction in 2013 to VM South Beach, LLC, for $41.5 million, a number that many were disappointed with since the original asking price for the mansion was set at $125 million.
Donatella Versace House
Much like her brother, Donatella Versace has quite the eye for real estate – in August 2019 she purchased an incredible historic Italian lakefront villa for $5.6 million. The 50-room vacation home is located in Northern Italy and was previously owned by Italian publisher, Arnoldo Mondadori, who purchased the breathtaking property in the 1920s. Many famous figures have spent time at the villa, including Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Mann, Walt Disney, and George Simenon.
It’s believed one of the reasons that Donatella decided to purchase the home, in addition to it being gorgeous, was the fact that it is located not far from her late brother’s villa on Lake Como. Donatella’s estate features over 15,000 square feet of living space as well as a stunning view of Lake Maggiore. The home has four floors and boasts 20 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, a study & library, and a massive fireplace that holds the signatures of all the estate’s guests, including Hemingway and Disney.
Donatella Versace Home Milan
Once the home of her brother Gianni, Donatella’s home in Milan is extraordinary. Little is known about the size and value, but she gave Vogue an exclusive tour during her episode of their hit series 73 Questions. Check it out below.
Versace Hotel Miami
In its present incarnation, what was once Gianni Versace’s dream mansion is now open for all to enjoy as a luxury hotel!
Villa Casa Casuarina
Like anything Versace, you’re gonna have to be prepared to dish out some serious cash to stay at this perfect slice of opulence – since it appears booking a room at Villa Casa Casuarina can cost you anywhere between $750 to $1100 a night (depending on the room you stay in). But when you consider that you’ll be staying in a place that has played host to both Hollywood royalty as well as actual royalty, the price of a room at the villa makes sense.
The hotel offers guests the chance to stay in any one of the luxury suites in the mansion, including Gianni’s suite. So, if you’ve always wanted to see how this fashion icon lived, you can book a stay at his former home and experience the extreme lavishness that is Villa Casa Casuarina for yourself.
Versace Mansion Dinner
Another popular hotspot at the Villa Casa Casuarina hotel is Gianni’s, a restaurant that offers a night of fine wining and even finer dining! This is an absolute must for anyone staying at the hotel – seriously they say the food there is amazing!
Casa Casuarina Restaurant
Gianni’s offers guests a delicious selection of Italian Mediterranean dishes and fine wines. Guests can choose to enjoy their meal in the decadent dining room or near Gianni Versace’s famous gold-tiled swimming pool. Whether you want to try the Tuna Tartar from the lunch menu, the prime filet mignon for dinner, or simply try out the truffle fries on the Bar Bites menu, you’re guaranteed a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience at Gianni’s (hungry after all this food talk? You’re not alone).
Versace Mansion Tour
Though the mansion used to provide guided tours in the mid-2000s, it appears that this is no longer an option as of 2019. If you want to explore the interior of Casa Versace Miami, there are two ways to do so – either you can reserve a table at Gianni’s or book a night at the hotel.
Gianni Versace Net Worth
Considering that Gianni was a 50% stakeholder in the company, which is now worth $1.7 billion, his net worth as of 2019 would have reached a staggering $800 million!
Some reports suggest he was worth $1.4 billion at the time of his death, but those predictions are unsubstantiated as far as we can tell. Who cares, though – he was rich by any measure!
100% of the Versace family shares were recently sold to the American fashion label, Michael Kors Limited, for $2 billion.
Gianni Versace Death
So, what happened to Versace? On July 15th, 1997, at 50 years of age, Gianni Versace was shot twice on the steps of his Miami, FL home upon returning from his morning stroll down Ocean Drive. On most days, Gianni would have his assistant get his coffee and morning paper for him, but his decision to walk to the shop on his own that day would prove to be fatal.
The man who committed the murder was serial killer Andrew Cunanan, who was reportedly obsessed with Gianni Versace and frequently boasted that he was close friends with the fashion designer, although this was simply a delusion of grandeur, and he was known to claim he had met and befriended other celebrities in the past.
What is believed, according to the FBI, is that Cunanan and Versace had met in San Francisco in 1990, but details surrounding exactly what their relationship remained a mystery. A 2008 article published in Vanity Fair suggested that perhaps the two had met on several occasions during those times since both parties allegedly mingled in sex-for-hire circles throughout San Francisco and Miami, but the Versace family has always denied that Cunanan and Versace knew each other, or even met, for that matter.
Andrew Cunanan was unemployed and frequently worked his way into the lives of wealthy older men so that he could spend their money. He went on to murder 5 people within 3 months, Versace included, until finally shooting himself on a houseboat in Miami Beach. He committed suicide with the same .40-caliber gun he shot and killed Gianni with as well as his other victim, former boyfriend David Madson.
The days leading up to Versace’s murder are depicted in the second season of the FX series American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
Versace Death Photos
The photos of the crime scene where Gianni Versace was murdered are gruesome and tragic. In those old photos, dried blood can be seen along the steps leading up to the Versace Mansion, the scene grotesquely displayed in the morning sun and framed with police tape as homicide detectives analyzed the site of the murder.
On the days following Gianni’s assassination, numerous people visited the scene on Ocean Drive to leave flowers and pay their respects to the late fashion designer Gianni Versace.
What happened to Versace after his death?
Gianni Versace’s remains were cremated and returned to the Versace estate near Cernobbio, Italy. The ashes were buried in the family’s vault located at Moltrasio cemetery, not far from Lake Como. His funeral, which was held at Milan Cathedral, had over 2,000 attendees, including Sting, Giorgio Armani, Elton John, and Princess Diana.