THE VILLA ITALIA HOTEL
Built in 1926 and known as Harmon Villa, the now refurbished Villa Italia Hotel was part of the art deco construction boom that flourished in Miami between the 1920s and 1930s. During this period numerous small hotels were built along lower Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive. This building boom helped bring the district of Miami Beach out of the Depression and later the area became famous as the Art Deco District, known worldwide as South Beach or SoBe.
The Art Deco period in the United States found its inspirations in early 20th Century European design styles such as Cubism, French Art Deco, German Bauhaus and Expressionism, Dutch de Stijl and Amsterdam School, Vienna Secession and others. The local architects used local imagery to create what we now call Tropical Deco. These buildings feature relief ornamentation featuring whimsical flora, fauna and ocean-liner motifs to reinforce the image of Miami Beach as a seaside resort.