Sarasota, Fla. is the winter training ground of "The Greatest Show on Earth." It can also boast an elegant sideshow: one of the nation's greatest collections of Baroque art, housed in Sarasota's salmon-pink John and Mable Ringling Museum. The public favorite at the museum is Paolo Veronese's Rest on the Flight into Egypt.

The late circus king, John Ringling, cleared a snake-&-alligator-infested swamp to build the museum, which resembles an Italian palazzo. The wealthy collectors of his day were attracted mainly by early Renaissance and Impressionist paintings. Ringling instinctively preferred the flamboyance of...

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