Florida travel guide




Sarasota Travel Guide

City of Sarasota

In a bay on the Florida's southwest Gulf coast is Sarasota (pop. 52,000), established in 1842, actually a rather exclusive retreat for the well-to-do known like a centre of the arts. It owes this honour principally to the millionaire circus owner John Ringling and his wife, who founded here not only a circus museum but a major art museum and a theatre. The Ringling Museum of Art has major works by Cranach, Rubens, Van Dyck and more other European artists. The Theatre, a faithful reproduction of the Baroque theatre in the Italian town of Asolo, is the place of a favorable drama company. The Ringlings' winter residence (1926) is in the form of a Venetian Renaissance palazzo. Other sights in Sarasota are Belim's Cars and Music of Yesterday Museum (veteran and vintage cars, old musical boxes, mechanical musical instruments), the Sarasota Jungle Gardens (with flamingoes, etc.), the Mary Selby Botanical Gardens (orchids, etc.) and the Mote Science Aquarium (marine flora and fauna). There are attractive bathing beaches on the narrow little offshore islets of St Amands, Lido, Longboat and Siesta Keys.

Emerging on a gentle hillside beside the blue waters of Sarasota Bay, SARASOTA is one of better-off and better-looking towns of Florida, and also one of the leading cultural centers of state. It's place to several writers and artists, and the base of diverse respected performing arts companies. The community is far less stuffy than its wealth might suggest, and downtown Sarasota is moderately lively, with cafés, bars and eateries complementing the excellent grouping of bookstores for which the area has been known. Most travellers stop by to observe the Ringling estate on the town's northern border, place of the art-loving millionaire from whom modern Sarasota takes its cue, and the barrier island beaches, a couple of miles away through the bay.

Sarasota, already possessing that name when first formed by those of European descent in the late 1840s, was integrated as a town in 1902 with John Hamilton Gillespie as mayor. It was replanted in 1912 and integrated like a city in 1913.

Fifteen thousand years in the past, when people first established in Florida, the Gulf of Mexico was one hundred miles to the west. The accompanying graphic depicts the ancient shoreline in light blue. In this time period, hunting and gathering was the major means of subsistence.

Sarasota is situated at 27°20'14?N, 82°32'7?W. According to the United States Census Office, the city possesses a total area of 67.2 km² (25.9 mi²). 38.6 km² (14.9 mi²) of it is land and 28.6 km² (11.0 mi²) of it is water. The full area is 42.58% water.

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