We had several good reasons for visiting the Getty Villa yesterday. One, it is located adjacent to the beach just of Pacific Coast Highway and therefore at least 20 degrees cooler than where we live in the Valley.
Two, it is a museum filled with art, artifacts and cultures of the Ancient Mediterranean World, Three, its gardens are extensive and perfect for leisurely strolling through them on a mild sunny day. These gardens include a replica of an ancient fountain discovered in
Pompeii as well as the Herb Garden planted with hundreds of species
from the Mediterranean.
The parking fee is the only one you pay here. Entrance is free when you reserve an entrance ticket days in advance and set both date and time of your expected arrival. Once parked you follow a garden path surrounded by luxurious foliage. Now you move back two thousand years to the grounds of a Roman country house named Villa dei Papiri and then to the building itself. All of this thanks to the vision of one man, J. Paul Getty, whose love of the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean world produced it.
Actually here the museum shows the art and culture of not only Romans but also the Greek civilization that preceded it as well as that of the Etruscans who also occupied the European peninsulas now called Italy.
We started at the Museum theater where a film tells the story on how J. Paul Getty acquired his fortune and how he devoted much of his later years to the collecting and preserving as much of the art and artifact of the ancient world as possible. Also on how he directed the planning, architecture and construction of what is now Villa dei Papiri, this by consulting maps and remains excavated in the 19 century. The original Roman country house was buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
Adding much to our day was our dining experience at The Cafe at the Getty Villa. The menu is Mediterranean and Italian with items like Greek Chicken Wrap or the Pepperoni and Sweet Italian Sausage Pizza which was our choice. The menu also offers antipasti for starters and sides like house made meat balls or Pita bread. Our lunch was pure enjoyment as we sat outdoors overlooking the Villa and its gardens. The Getty Villa is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Tuesdays. For information call 310 440-7300, on the web www.getty.edu.