Right on the Pacific Coast Highway with a view of the ocean, the Getty Villa is a rare treat in Los Angeles. It was envisioned by oil tycoon and billionaire J. Paul Getty and opened for the first time in 1974. It has one of the world’s largest collections of ancient glass!
Hidden away in the hills of Malibu just steps from the beach, you will find the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa. Originally built in the 1970s after the oil tycoon ran out of space in his home gallery, it is modeled after a first-century Roman country house (the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, Italy) complete with details such as bronze street lanterns (like in Pompeii!) and gardens of indigenous shrubs and herbs used in Roman ceremonies.
There is a lot to see! The permanent collection is comprised of over 40,000 Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities with objects dating to 6,500 BC. There are 23 galleries dedicated to the 1,000 or so pieces on display at any given time and are organized thematically rather than chronologically. The galleries don’t allow flash photography or tripods and it’s pretty low-light so bring your cable release or bean/sand-bag for image stabilization.
And when you’re all done on the inside, step outside into one of the gardens where you’ll find more architecture, sculptures, fountains, pools, flora and fauna representative of Ancient Rome and Greece.
Admission is free with an online reservation and parking is $15. The Pacific Ocean is literally across the street.
Prepare yourself for a one of a kind afternoon in Los Angeles!