The Getty Villa: A Bit of Ancient Italy in L.A.

More than two years after moving to LA, I finally visited the “Getty Villa,” one of the two J. Paul Getty museums in LA, the other being the much more known Getty Center.

The Getty Villa’s history is interesting. In the early 1950s, millionaire John Paul Getty opened a gallery next to his home in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood to house his art collection. In the early 1970s, as the art collection grew, he decided to build a museum (The Getty Villa) not too far from his house. The building was inspired on the Villa of the Papyri, a luxurious villa at Herculaneum, Italy. But since the Villa of the Papyri was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and much of it remained unexcavated, many of the villa’s architectural and landscaping details were inspired by other ancient Roman houses in Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae. Getty died in 1976 without ever visiting the Villa, which opened in 1974.

With the move of the Museum to the Getty Center, the Pacific Palisades building was renovated and reopened on January 28, 2006. The Getty Villa collection has 44,000 Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities dating from 6,500 BC to 400 AD.  Admission is free but parking is $15. And you need to make reservation due to parking space restrictions. They also have a very nice casual restaurant in the premises. It’s worth a visit!

The Museum Grounds

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