Saturday, January 14, 2012

Getty Villa (Malibu)

After a recent $275 million facelift in 2006, the J. Paul Getty Villa Museum, set along a 64 acre canyon above the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, is now the home of the museum's antiquities collection. Over twelve hundred Greek, Roman and Etruscan artifacts, some dated as early as 6500 B.C., are displayed in a reproduction of the large Villa dei Papiri, a Roman country house in Herculaneum (Bay of Naples, Italy), buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Instead of picking a path through ruins, this full-scale reconstruction allows visitors to experience a Roman villa as the original inhabitants lived. Both formal and household herb gardens are planted with species native to the Mediterranean. The entry drive simulates ancient Roman roads, which were paved with large, irregular stones.

In summer classical dramas are performed in a steeply raked amphitheater opposite the museum entrance, where docent-led tours of the gardens and villa architecture begin. A café with indoor and outdoor seating is on the premises, and a museum theater shows a short film about how Getty conceived the museum in 1968, amassed his collection and established a conservation facility to preserve antiquities. Today the villa houses 29 galleries on two levels.

Note: do not confuse the Getty Villa with the much larger Getty Center museum, which is located inland near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and I-405.

Admission by required reservation (advance timed tickets): 310-440-7300 (make sure you ask for tickets to the Getty VILLA museum, since the Getty CENTER also shares this phone number). Open 10am-5pm. Closed Tuesdays and January 1, July 4, Thanksgiving, and December 25. ATM on premises. The villa is one mile north of the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway. Strangely, the museum can be accessed only from the northbound direction of the Pacific Coast Highway.

Click on link:

Watch the introductory film about the history of the museum:

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