Nestled amongst the bougainvillea and banyan trees of Coral Gables lies one of Miami’s hidden treasures. The Venetian Pool, an 820,000-gallon spring-fed swimming pool, has drawn locals and visitors alike since it’s construction in 1923. Originally conceived as part of the Venetian Casino, the Venetian Pool was a central feature to George Merrick’s master plan for Coral Gables. The pool was constructed from a coral rock quarry that was the source of much of the beautiful coral found in the neighborhood’s homes. Built in the Mediterranean Revival style, the pool features loggias, porticos, and a beautiful bridge leading to small palm-tree island. Its main features, however, are its waterfalls and secluded grotto.
In its early days, the Venetian pool drew the rich and famous to its crystal clear waters. Notables such as William Jennings Bryan and Esther Williams were known to visit the pool and big band concerts featuring the names of the day were often held in the pool itself after it had been drained for the occasion. The pool’s historical significance was recognized in 1982 as it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the Venetian Pool is owned by the City of Coral Gables and exists much as it did back in its heyday. Gone are the gondolas and high dive, but the beauty of this wonderful pool remains.
If you are planning a visit to the Venetian Pool, be sure to visit the pool’s official website to check current prices and operating hours. Parking is provided free of charge and is located between Grenada and De Soto Boulevards. The pool has a small concession stand if you are hungry, but we recommend waiting and taking advantage of the area’s many local restaurants. The Venetian Pool is only four minutes from Coral Gables’ famed Miracle Mile where you can find anything from small cafés to high-end restaurants in almost any culinary style. A short drive north of the pool will take you to Eighth Street (better known as Calle Ocho) where you can sit, cafecito in hand, and have a wonderful Cuban meal in Little Havana.
If you are looking to stay near the Venetian Pool, we recommend taking in another Coral Gables landmark and staying at the famed Biltmore Hotel. Constructed only thee years after the Venetian Pool, staying at this hotel will give you the full 1920s Miami experience and allow you to see two entries on the National Register of Historic Places. A short drive south of the Biltmore will also take you to one of the best tropical gardens in the continental United States, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.