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Getty Villa

free admission
Getty Villa

Visit a replica of an ancient Roman Villa in Pacific Palisades.

The stunning Getty Villa houses a collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities, and Bronze Age and Neolithic pieces.  The oldest piece dates back to 6500 BC.

It's located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades and has a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating, a museum store and an amphitheater hosting regular productions of the classics.

Check hours.

10 best things about the Getty Villa

1.  There's no admission fee to the Getty Villa, but you must pay a parking fee.

2.  The Getty Villa was opened in 1974 by oil billionaire J.P. Getty. 

J.P. Getty started collecting art in the late 1930's.  In 1954 he opened up his collection to the public at his Malibu Ranch House. The collection outgrew the space and the Getty Villa was completed in 1974.  By this time Getty was living in England.  He never saw the Getty Villa before his death in 1976 because he had a fear of flying.

Getty Malibu VillaGetty Malibu Villa

3.  It's a replica of an Ancient Roman Villa. 

The Getty Villa was built as a replica of the Villa of the Papyri in the Roman town of Herculaneum. This villa was owned by Julius Caesar's father in law, and was was destroyed by the Vesuvius eruption in AD79. It was partially excavated in the late 18th century.

Getty Villa MalibuGetty Villa Malibu

4.  The Outer Peristyle has a striking 90-meter ornamental pool. 

The southern courtyard has a 90-meter ornamental pool surrounded by colonnaded hallways.  The Romans described this area as the Outer Peristyle.  It was a place for relaxation in their country homes with fragrant gardens and long hallways for strolling.  The bronze statues are replicas from the ancient villa.  

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5. The Inner Peristyle has an enchanting courtyard with solemn statues of young women. 

The inner courtyard is another formal garden, with a narrow reflecting pool surrounded by statues of young women (replicas from the ancient villa).

Getty Villa GardenGetty Villa Garden

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6. Visit two beautiful fountains at the smaller East Garden. 

The East Garden is a smaller area with two fountains. It has a colorful mosaic fountain with two theater masks (replica from the ancient villa).

Getty Villa fountainsGetty Villa fountains

Getty Villa: East GardenGetty Villa: East Garden

7. Take in the fragrant scent of the fruit and herb beds at the Herb Garden. 

The Herb Garden is on the western side of the property.  This is where the Romans would grow their fruit and herbs for consumption or medicinal purposes. Today there are citrus, pear and apple trees, and grape vines.

Getty Villa herb gardenGetty Villa herb gardenGetty Villa: fragrant herb gardenGetty Villa: fragrant herb gardenGetty Villa pondGetty Villa pond

8. Explore the stunning galleries at the Getty Villa full of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures.  

A beautiful atrium is the entryway to two floors of galleries, and has an interesting introductory video. Look up at the atrium's skylight, then down at the sunken pool (impluvium) that carries away rainwater run-off from the roof.  

Everything inside the villa is original, and highlights include:

  1. Statue of Hercules once owned by Roman emperor Hadrian.
  2. Orpheus and Sirens sculptures (300 to 350 BC Greek).
  3. Statue of a Victorious Youth Greek bronze from the Ancient Olympics (300 - 100 BC Greek).
  4. The exquisite Basilica Gallery with a group of marble muses (AD 200). 
  5. Athenian vases.
  6. Neolithic clay figure (6500 BC).  This is the oldest piece in the Museum.

Getty Villa: Orpheus and Sirens sculptures.Getty Villa: Orpheus and Sirens sculptures.

Orpheus and Sirens sculptures, Greek, 300-350 BC

Getty Villa: Lion attacking a horseGetty Villa: Lion attacking a horse

Lion attacking a horse, Greek, 325 to 300 BC, restored in 1594 in Rome.

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Sarcophagus with lid, Athens, Greece, AD180 to 220

Getty Villa: Satyr Pouring WineGetty Villa: Satyr Pouring Wine

Satyr Pouring Wine, Roman, 1 AD

Getty Villa: Leda and the SwanGetty Villa: Leda and the Swan

Leda and the Swan, Roman, 1-100 AD

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Basilica Gallery with a group of marble muses.

9. There is a stunning amphitheater at the Getty Villa for outdoor performances.

Getty Villa amphitheaterGetty Villa amphitheater

10.  It's near other popular L.A. attractions.  

Combine a visit to the Getty Villa with some other really cool nearby attractions. Spot celebrities and shop for designer brands at the Malibu Country Mart, enjoy a waterfront meal at the Malibu Pier, or spend the afternoon at Malibu, and stroll around peaceful Lake Shrine.

How is the Getty Villa different from the Getty Museum?

The Getty Villa in Malibu only has antiquities, whereas the Getty Museum in Brentwood has European paintings and drawings (14th to 19th century), furniture from the Palace of Versailles, and vintage photography.

Getty Villa: entry pavilionGetty Villa: entry pavilion

Know before you go.

  • Admission:  FREE, but you must reserve a timed entry ticket in advance.
  • Hours:  Closed Tuesdays.  Check times.
  • Parking rates.  Check here
  • Cafe and Museum Store:  Yes.
  • Address:  17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272.

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