As usual Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu southbound was choked with traffic, plus a frantic seeking of parking spaces and a scene of hurly burly activity.
But the moment we pulled off PCH to the entrance of Getty Villa all this changed instantly. In seconds we had moved from near chaos to complete tranquillity. Now there was a friendly parking attendant to direct us, a smiling woman at the gate who collected our parking fee and gave us further directions.
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.
In all artifacts of seven thousand years, from the end of the Stone Age to the fall of the Roman Empire, are to be seen in the 23 galleries when they are all open. Currently some are closed while new presentations are being prepared. We especially enjoyed the Gods and Goddesses exhibition as it recalled our college course on Classic Myths of the Ancient Greek World. Which also tied in nicely with the Mythological Heroes exhibition. world produced it.
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. Prices were modest. Our lunch was pure enjoyment as we sat outdoors overlooking the Villa and its gardens. 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 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.
Graphic Design by Impact Graphics