Versace Mansion–Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask about the Casa Causarina May 15, 2006Posted by blogsouthbeach in absolute must sees, attractions, blog, casa, casa causarina, gianni versace, mansion, miami beach, photo op, private club, south beach, travel, vacation, versace, versce mansion, villa, visit miami beach.
What is this building and why is everybody taking pictures of it?
This mansion, the only private residence on Ocean Drive, was previously owned by the late Gianni Versace, the famous Italian designer, from 1992-1997.Gianni was murdered on the front steps of his home on July 15th, 1997, at 9 AM. The murder of Gianni and the hunt for his killer instantly became an international, front page media story. The mansion, and Gianni's billion-dollar design empire, were left to Gianni's sister Donatella, also a designer. The house is the most photographed building in Florida.
Who killed Gianni and why?
Gianni was shot on his front steps by Andrew Cunanan, a gay, psycho-serial-killer from San Diego, California who had discovered he had AIDS, and went on a cross-country killing spree, killing 4 ex-boyfriends before driving to Miami Beach to hunt Gianni down. Rumors has it that Cunanan had briefly met Versace at a fashion show in Sa Francisco in 1995, and had fantasies of becoming Gianni's boyfriend or model, but had been rejected by Versace for both roles. (Gianni had a 10 year relationship going with his lover, a designer named Antonio; and he most likely found Cunanan uninteresting and too short.) On the mornning Cunanan murdered Vercase, he had followed Gianni home from his usual breakfast spot, the news cafe on 8th street and Ocean Drive. As Gianni was opening the lock on his front gate, Cunanan confronted him on the front steps repeating him desire to be a lover or model for Gianni and then got rejected a second time. Cunanan then pulled out a handgun he was carrying in his backpack and shot Versace in the back of his head 2 times, and then ran off north to 13th street and Collins Ave., where a truck he had stolen was parked. Cunanan then made a quick change of clothes, hailed a cab, and hid out on an empty houseboat that had been sitting at 50th street and Collins Ave., first breaking the padlock that was on the front door. Gianni died within 5 minute from brain damage.
How was Cunanan caught?
The houseboat Cunanan hid out on was owned by a German night-club owner, who had hired a caretaker to check it once every 2 weeks. On July 29th, 1997, the caretaker checked the boat and found the lock tampered with. He entered the front door to check out the situation. Cunanan heard the door being pushed open, and thinking the police had finally caught up with him, put the barrel of the same handgun he'd used to kill Gianni into his mouth, commiting suicide.
Who were some of Gianni's friends, for whom he designed clothes, and who were frequent guests in his house?
Madonna often partied at the mansion with Gianni, and stayed in the second floor right front bedroom. Princess Diana often stayed in the second floor left front suite. Elton John stayed in the lower-left front bedroom, and Prince (the artist) often stayed in the lower right front bedroom.
Who owns the Versace Mansion now and what are the future plans for it?
In August of 2000, Dontella Versace had put the house on the open real estate market $25 million. One rumor had it that Puff Daddy (P-Diddy) the rap star, had bought it for his first love, Jennifer Lopez but J-Lo at the time, decided not to hook back up with puffy. The current owner, Peter Loftin, paid $19 million, and is a North carolina based telecommunications millionaire, who originally wanted the house just to party in. Presently, he renovated the Mansion, leaving most of It's original art intact. It is now a five star private invitation only club where many upscale parties and gatherings are held. Members pay $40,000 to join plus $3,600 annually. To stay in one of the 10 rooms runs up to $5,000 a night. It is also rumored that Peter Loftin will be adding a new extension to the premises which will consist of several rooms and will sell as time-shares.
So if you walk by the Versace Mansion, make sure you stop and smile to keep up the "Most photographed building in Miami beach" status of the Casa Casuarina.