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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The American Venice

In a earlier post about Venice Beach, I mentioned the Venice Canals and posted a few photos of it. Having spent a delightful hour walking around the three-mile grid of canals recently, I enjoyed it so much I thought the area deserved a separate post just for itself.

Since the Canals are not easily seen from the more touristy sites in Venice, not every visitor has the opportunity to visit them. So while large numbers of fun-seeking tourists visit the outlandish Venice Boardwalk and the adjoining residential area near the Venice Pier, the Canals neighborhood see fewer and more low-key visitors who appreciate a relaxed stroll over a number of inter-connecting pathways and bridges, where one can admire the peaceful beauty of the place and the interesting properties along the way.

Here’s a slide show of my photos of the Canals and a bit of the area’s history.

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“The Venice Canal Historic District is a district in the Venice section of Los Angeles, California. The district is noteworthy for its man-made canals built in 1905 by developer Abbot Kinney as part of his Venice of America plan. Kinney sought to recreate the appearance and feel of Venice, Italy, in Southern California. The canals are roughly bounded by Eastern Court on the east, Court A on the south, Strongs Drive on the west, and Court E on the north. There are four east-west canals (Carroll Canal, Linnie Canal, Howland Canal, and Sherman Canal) and two north-south canals (Eastern Canal and Grand Canal). The beautifully lit canals with gondoliers and arched bridges drew widespread publicity and helped sell lots in the development. However, as the automobile gained in popularity, the canals were viewed by many as outdated, and the bulk of the canals were filled in 1929 to create roads. By 1940, the remaining canals had fallen into disrepair, and the sidewalks were condemned by the city. The canal district remained in poor condition for more than 40 years, as numerous proposals to renovate the canals failed due to lack of funding, environmental concerns, and disputes as to who should bear  the financial responsibility. The canals were finally renovated in 1992, with the canals being drained and new sidewalks and walls being built. The canals re-opened in 1993 and have become a desirable and expensive residential section of the city. The residential district surrounding the remaining canals was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. However, in recent years, there has been extensive renovation work on many of the old houses, and many large, modern houses have been built.” (Wikipedia)