The Getty Villa in Malibu is an absolute “must see” if you’re visiting Southern California.
Modeled after the Villa dei Papiri, a Roman country house in Herculaneum, The Getty Villa has faithfully incorporated architectural details “based on elements drawn from other ancient Roman homes in the towns of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae”. All were, of course, buried by the massive eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79.
I have visited both Herculaneum and Pompeii and absolutely loved both but then I’m a nut for the history of a place and seeing how they lived. There is something incredibly inspiring and interesting about walking among places that are literally thousands of years old. Of course, because they are “ruins”, much is left for us to picture and imagine… which is exactly why The Getty Villa so fascinating.
Let’s be Roman aristocrats for a day, shall we?
Stepping Back in Time…
From the entrance off Highway 1 in Malibu, whose main drive is paved to simulate the ancient streets of Pompeii and Herculaneum, to the moment you approach the Villa, every detail has been meticulously researched and faithfully executed.
The gardens, the peristyles, the atrium…all are exquisite. And then there is the incomparable permanent collection of over 1200 Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities!
A Little Background
Oil magnate, J. Paul Getty, purchased the acreage in Malibu in 1945. For a time he exhibited his collection in his home but in 1968 decided to recreate a first-century Roman country house. It opened in 1974 but then closed in 1997 for renovation while the new Getty Center opened to house the extensive art collection.
In 2006, The Getty Villa reopened with the focus on ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria.
This visit was specifically to see the special exhibit, Roman Mosaics Across the Empire, but a visit here is always an enriching, educational, and rewarding experience.
Roman Mosaics Across the Empire
This stunning special exhibit includes magnificent mosaic treasures a well as insightful descriptions and text:They did allow no-flash photography so I am able to share some of the mosaics with you although the true scope and detail must be appreciated in person…
We also took time to visit some of the extensive permanent collection. Each gallery has a theme (e.g., Gods and Goddesses, Mythological Heroes, Monsters and Minor Dieties, Women and Children in Antiquity, and many more) and they also have special exhibits/collections as well as a calendar of events, a theater, a lovely Cafe and, of course, a tempting Museum Store.
Each gallery is beautifully designed and the collections tastefully displayed and described. All ages will enjoy a visit!
When in Rome…
Well, we all know that wine was a very important part of the Roman lifestyle. Take it from Panyassis about 2500 years ago:
A Few Words and Information About The Getty Villa
This visit and post are solely based on my own visit and observations. I did peruse the Getty Villa Map & Guide for details and descriptions. However, neither my visit nor this post was sponsored by The Getty Villa in Malibu or The Getty Center Museum in Los Angeles. I just happen to be a huge fan of both!
Both The Museum and The Villa are FREE to the public. You do have to make Parking Reservations and there is a nominal fee.
They offer tours, events, theaters, interactive activities for all ages and a plethora of information.