Explore an Italian Renaissance-style villa designed by Milwaukee architect David Adler and built on the bluffs of Lake Michigan.

The Villa Terrace Art Museum was originally designed as a family home. After returning from a trip to Italy, Milwaukee socialites Lloyd and Agnes Smith commissioned architect David Adler to design a family home in the style of an Italian Renaissance villa. Its lakefront location inspired the name Sopra Mare (“above the sea” in Italian).

After Lloyd passed in 1944, Agnes remarried and moved to the East Coast. In 1966, she donated the former family home to Milwaukee after learning the Milwaukee Art Museum needed space for their decorative arts collection. Rechristened as the “Villa Terrace” the Museum opened in 1967. The Villa Terrace operated under the Milwaukee Art Museum for seven years before parting ways.

Today Villa Terrace and its Renaissance Garden are zoned as Milwaukee County parkland. Together, they serve the citizens of Milwaukee through the creation and promotion of local, regional and international visual and decorative arts, and a wide range of intergenerational community arts programming that includes live music, yoga, art workshops and lectures. The Villa is home to the world’s largest collection of Cyril Colnik ironworks. The Museum hosts several contemporary art exhibitions throughout the year highlighting craft and material exploration. The Museum launched the Villa Art-in-Residence Program in 2023 to support local artists.

Café Sopra Mare
Enjoy free live music, coffee, tea and bakery in the Mercury Courtyard at the Museum from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Sunday — June through September — courtesy of Abyssinnia Coffee Roasters and Sam’s Place. Visit villaterrace.org to see who is performing.
Supernova: Hope Wang and Keith Kaziak | Now – March 10, 2023
Everyday symbols and objects transform into “theatrical mirrors” of urban decay in the “Supernova: Hope Wang + Keith Kaziak.” Wang and Kaziak’s installations present the sorrow, beauty and humor found in the human tragedy of urban collapse and the fleeting nature of existence.
A Different Kind of Garden | Now – September 24, 2023
Villa Artist in Residence Cat Gilbert presents evocative studies of the art, flora and architecture of the Villa Terrace. Vibrant paintings, cyanotypes and sculptural arrangements present a new perspective of the historic space.



2220 N Terrace Ave

Saturday Hours
10 am - 2 pm

Sunday Hours
10 am - 2 pm

Photography, Video

Handicapped Accessible
Fully wheelchair accessible