The historic mansion is a delicate beauty, with complex colours and textures in terra cotta, tile, and marble. Built with a similar intent - to create the most striking of private homes - as Biltmore and Hearst, this mansion is elaborate. The antique roof tiles come from Barcelona where John Ringling salvaged them and sent them home, filling two cargo ships. There were too many for the house, so some were sold to neighbours. One can still see roofs that match Ca' d'Zan's. The house is Venetian in design. In keeping with the theme, Mable Ringling kept a gondola at the dock.
After John Ringling's death, the mansion was neglected for decades. Its transformation back to its original beauty was completed in 2002, with a six year effort to restore it.
There is the Art Museum, Circus Museum, and also an 18th century Italian theatre on the ground. It sits inside a new structure. Ringling had it shipped from the Veneto to Florida in 1930.