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Best Museums in Pacific Palisades, California

The Getty Villa

The Getty Villa:
Exploring Ancient Cultures in the Heart of Los Angeles

Visit Pacific Palisades California
Visit Pacific Palisades California
Visit Pacific Palisades California

Nestled in the picturesque neighborhood of Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, the Getty Villa is a museum and educational center that transports visitors back in time to ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.

The Getty Villa

17985 E Pacific Coast Hwy
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
(310) 440-7300

The museum's collection of 44,000 Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities dating from 6,500 BC to 400 AD is displayed in a masterful ensemble of buildings, plazas, and landscaping that finally provides a real home for these relics of another time and place.

The Getty Villa is one of two campuses of the J. Paul Getty Museum, named after its founder, oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. In 1954, Getty opened a gallery adjacent to his home in Pacific Palisades, but soon ran out of room to display his growing collection. He then built a second museum, the Getty Villa, on the property down the hill from the original gallery. The villa's design was inspired by the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum and incorporated additional details from several other ancient sites. It opened in 1974, but was never visited by Getty, who died in 1976. Following his death, the museum inherited $661 million and began planning a much larger campus, the Getty Center, in nearby Brentwood.

The Getty Villa's collection is arranged thematically, with sections devoted to Gods and Goddesses, Dionysos and the Theater, and Stories of the Trojan War. Among the outstanding items is the Victorious Youth, one of few life-size Greek bronze statues to have survived to modern times. The Lansdowne Heracles, a Hadrianic Roman sculpture in the manner of Lysippus, is also a highlight of the collection.

In addition to the impressive collection, the Getty Villa boasts stunning gardens that feature plants native to the Mediterranean and known to have been cultivated by the ancient Romans. There are four different gardens on the grounds, each with its unique charm and ambiance. The largest garden is that of the Outer Peristyle, an exact proportional replica of the one at the Villa dei Papiri. The garden has a long pool at the center, and traditional Roman landscaping designs are replicated with manicured bay laurel, boxwood, oleander, and viburnum shrubs. Rows of date palms line each of the long sides of the Outer Peristyle garden, while each corner features pomegranate trees surrounded by ornamental plants like acanthus, ivy, hellebore, lavender, and iris.

The Getty Villa is not only a museum but also an educational center that offers a wide range of programs, lectures, and tours designed to engage visitors in the study of ancient art and culture. Whether you're an art lover or a history buff, a visit to the Getty Villa is an enriching and fascinating experience that is not to be missed.

The Getty Villa is a true gem in the heart of Los Angeles that offers a unique opportunity to explore ancient cultures and art in a breathtaking setting. Its impressive collection, stunning gardens, and engaging educational programs make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history and art of ancient civilizations.

Pacific Palisades Visitor Guide
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