The Getty Villa is located in Pacific Palisades near Malibu. The building is a replica of the Villa Dei Papiri which is a Roman country house that was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. The buildings and surrounding Roman-style gardens transports you through time and lets you experience life as a rich merchant in ancient Rome. The architecture of the Villa was designed to resemble an archeological dig.
Tip: before you start your tour through the Villa, catch a 12 minutes video about the history of the museum and its collections. You can also catch it at www.getty.edu before your visit.
The Villa houses a great collection of sculptures, pottery and jewelry from antiquities. The main cultures represented are Etruscan, Greek and Roman – with artifacts arranged by themes. For example, you will see Gods and Goddesses in one room and the Trojan War in another.
The family activity center is a must for visitors with kids. It offers quick art projects and a chance to decorate a Vase from the Greek or Roman times with your own decorations. The vases are replicas and the markers are erasable – so don’t worry about spoiling an expensive piece of art.
Tip: After parking in the parking structure, many visitors make the mistake of climbing the stairs all the way to the top, missing the gardens and the main courtyard. After the first flight of stairs turn right into a balcony with a clear view of the ocean then climb the small ramp to the main garden with a very long pond and fountains surrounded by statues. If you miss that entrance to the Villa, make sure to exit into that direction to enjoy the views.
Dining choice at the Villa:
You can dine at the Café which serves casual Mediterranean cuisine with comfortable seating indoors or outdoors. We decided to eat on the outdoor patio to enjoy great food and take in the views and architecture. Umbrellas provided protection from the sun for those who need it.
You can also grab a coffee and a snack from the coffee shop next doors.
If you prefer to be closer to nature, you can bring your own food or pre-order a picnic lunch at the Getty website and enjoy at one of the picnic areas.
Although entrance to the Villa is free, your still have to pay $15 for parking. You will also need to make reservations online at www.mtn.museumtix.com. The booking process may look like you are buying tickets for a show, but don’t worry, the tickets are free and you will not be asked for a credit card. You have to have the tickets to enter the Villa - one for each member of your group.
Entering the Villa grounds might be a little tricky. The only way to enter is to go north on PCH, watch out for the tiny gate right of off PCH. If you miss it, you have to go further down PCH and find a safe way to double-back to before the gate. The best bet is to reprogram your GPS navigation and find the best way back.
- The Getty Villa (Getty Trust Publications: J. Paul Getty Museum)
- Seeing the Getty Villa (Getty Trust Publications: J. Paul Getty Museum)