Skip to main content

G is for Getty Villa: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post


The inner peristyle at the Getty Villa surrounds a formal garden
I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the seventh post in the series. 

I was happy to have an excuse to visit the Getty Villa; a place I had wanted to see for years, but just had never made it to. I visited on the same day I hiked to Escondido Falls. While the Getty Villa was free to visit, reservations were required, and parking was a hefty $25. However, it's more affordable than a trip to Italy, and the Getty Villa Museum describes itself as "Greek and Roman antiquities housed in a recreated Roman country home." 

On the path between the parking garage and the museum's entrance, I passed a sign that explained that the villa was a recreation of Herculaneum. The sign had a quote by J. Paul Getty: "One could say, 'Go to Pompeii and Herculaneum and see Roman villas the way they are now--then go to Malibu and see the way they were in ancient times.' " Herculaneum was an ancient Italian town that, like Pompeii, was destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Unlike Pompeii, however, much of Herculaneum was covered in mud. I was instantly transported back to the time I toured Pompeii and Herculaneum, and was excited to see the Getty Villa. 

The sign that explains that the Getty Villa is a recreation of Herculaneum

I had downloaded the Getty app prior to my visit, and was able to access free guided tours via the app. I took the highlights tour and the Roman villa tour. Both deepened my appreciation for the things I was seeing. I would definitely recommend the audio tours. They even have short (25 minutes) audio tours geared toward children. 

One of the impressive items housed in the Getty Villa is a mummy portrait of Isidora. The paint is so vivid and bright; it's hard to believe it was painted around 100 A.D. 

The very lifelike painting of Isidora on a panel of a "red shroud" mummy

Another piece from the highlights tour is a marble figure of a harp player, which is one of the oldest items in the museum, dating from 2700-2300 B.C. I could see a modern artist using a similar design.

A very old (2700-2300 B.C.) marble statue of a harp player

And of course, what museum tour would be complete without seeing a statue of a mythological god? I still don't understand how artists can make a hard material like marble appear lifelike and flowing.

Jupiter (or Zeus) sits on a seat, with a cloth around his hips

While I enjoyed the art pieces, I also enjoyed the gardens and architectural details of the villa. 
A room with heavily marbled walls and floors, and painted ceiling

An ornately tiled fountain in one of the gardens

A beautiful garden (under blue skies) features a long pool of water
If you're yearning for a trip to Mediterranean Europe, you might want to consider a trip to the Getty Villa. It's a lovely step back in time, and with the beautiful setting and ocean view, you might just think you are in Italy!


  1. It looks and sounds fabulous. I was impressed with Pompeii but our tour did not include Herculaneum, so I know I would enjoy it.


Post a Comment

Conversations are so much nicer when more than one person does the talking. :-) Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts; I'd love to hear from you!

Popular posts from this blog

Ten Things of Thankful: Autumn Edition

It's autumn time, one of my favorite times of year.  I just couldn't leave this weekend as a one-post weekend.  

Ten Things of Thankful: Last Two Weeks

  Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park, as viewed from an overlook I apologize for not commenting on your blog posts this past week; John and I took a vacation to Yellowstone National Park, leaving behind our computers and, to a large extent, cell phone service. We escaped the outside world and just spent time in nature. Though we have friends near Yellowstone (who we love to visit) we made this trip just about us, so please forgive us if we were nearby and didn't stop by. The crowds were minimal (though we did mask up whenever we passed someone on the trails) and we spent our days hiking, taking photos, and watching geysers erupt. Today, we are back home and back to work, and, in the case of my computer, back to old shenanigans like not letting me import my photos. (I was able to add the above photo by using blogger on my phone, but that isn't my preferred method.) I want to write about Yellowstone and have photos I want to share, but will leave that for another

Monday Mentions: Equate Crutches

Have you ever needed crutches? I hadn't, until a week ago.  I'm pretty sure I strained a muscle while running a half-marathon.  (That sounds kind of cool, doesn't it? I'm not actually that cool; the last time I strained a muscle it was from carrying too many shopping bags at once.) In any case, I found myself in need of some crutches. I sent my husband to the store to get some. Photo: A pair of crutches leans against a wall  Not that crutches are all that complex, but because I hadn't used any before, I wondered if I could figure out how to adjust them to fit me properly. I shouldn't have worried. John came home from Walmart with their generic store brand of crutches, complete with instructions. First, I needed to take out a long bolt that went through the hand grip. Then I needed to find my height range, push down two metal pieces, and slide the crutches until the little metal pieces came up in the hole near my height range. (Having two people for this