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Florida Culture

If theme parks are not your thing or you fancy a day away from the crowds then head for the Morse Museum of American Art in Orlando where you will find a small but excellent collection of artwork including a lovely display of Art Nouveau decorative glasswork by the famous Louis Comfort Tiffany.
 
For a daytrip north of Orlandotry Mount Dora. Situated on a lake this pretty Victorian-era village is now full of antique shops to browse in. The Chamber of Commerce offers a free guide to the houses and if you get tired of all that walking jump on the Mount Dora Trolley for a narrated historic tour!
 
St Augustinefurther northon the east coast is an authentic old colonial town with plenty of picturesque 200- year -old houses with wooden verandas to photograph. The place is small enough to explore on foot and was founded by the Spanish in 1565. Don’t miss the oldest masonry fort in the US, Castillo de San Marcos completed in 1695 with great views over the town from the ramparts.
                                      
Miami Art Museum (free entry on Sundays) is a must for art lovers and once you have browsed the galleries you can take a stroll around Miami’s fashionable Art Deco district behind South Beach and admire the wonderful architecture. Head out of the city to Villa Vizcaya to visit an eccentric 16th century Italian villa complete with an eclectic art collection commissioned and furnished by James Deering who made his fortunes from farm-machinery.
 
Architectural enthusiasts will also enjoy exploring Boca Raton below Miami with its Mediterranean Revival architecture and Moorish style buildings. Boca Raton Museum of Art is also well worth a visit.
 
Across to the west coast to Sarasotawhere John Ringling ploughed his circus profits into a Venetian Gothic palace called Ca d’Zan. The Ringling Art Museum built in the grounds houses his impressive collection of European baroque paintings. The Circus Gallery, also in the grounds, has exhibits from the Ringling Circus heydays in the twenties and thirties. Sarasota is a tiny but cultured city by a beautiful bay and boasts many private galleries and performing arts venues not to mention bookstores! No wonder this area is also known as the Culture Coast.
 
Continuing north up the west coast, the Salvador Dali Museum in St Petersburg holds the largest collection of this artists paintings outside of Spain with over 1,000 on display.
 
Finally, Tallahassee, off the beaten track in the northeast, has been the home of Florida’s government since 1823. Here you will find two restored historic areas to explore and the Museum of Florida History and Knott House Museum will give you a good idea of the history of the region before the arrival of Disney!