John Ringling was the marketing force behind the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. He and his wife, Mable, built their dream home in Sarasota in 1925 and named it Ca d’Zan (the House of John in the Venetian dialect). It was modeled after the homes and palaces they’d seen in Venice during their extensive travels in Europe. The home is nothing short of spectacular, its terra cotta and glazed tile facade punctuated by an 81-foot belvedere tower. Inside, you’ll find room after room paneled in hand-carved oak with marble floors, stained glass windows and filled with priceless works of art. Out back there’s a nearly 30,000-square-foot rose garden. Like the homes in Newport, Rhode Island, the word “mansion” hardly does it justice; this is a palace. John and Mable were passionate art collectors and they built a museum on the scale of Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, on the grounds of the Ca d’Zan. The museum alone would be a star attraction in any city in the U.S.; its collection includes numerous Old Masters (Rubens, Titian, Tintoretto, van Dyck, El Greco) along with ancient Etruscan and Greek antiquities and a growing collection of Asian art. It even has a cast of Michelangelo’s David and a replica of the Fountain of Tortoises from the Piazza Mattei in Rome. The grounds also include the Circus Museum filled with circus wagons, posters and photographs—Sarasota was the winter headquarters for the Ringling Brothers circus—along with the Tibbals Learning Center, named for master model builder and philanthropist Howard Tibbals. He spent 50 years producing the world's largest miniature circus—The Howard Bros. Circus—in exact, to-scale replicas of the 1920s and '30s Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.