Tranquility and Art at the Getty Villa

J. Paul Getty had his 1st Century AD replica of a
Roman villa, known as the Getty Villa, built in 1968 to
house his ever growing collection of ancient art. Although Mr. Getty never saw
the completion of this beautiful building, he left a legacy behind so we could
all enjoy its splendor.
From the Inn at Playa del Rey, my companion and I drove up the coast via PCH,
enjoying the scenic view and cool, ocean breezes. About a mile north of Sunset
Blvd. is the entrance to the Getty Villa. Reserve your free, timed tickets on the Getty website ( for entrance into
the Villa. Upon arrival, show your printed
tickets to the security guard, pay your parking fee ($15 per car), and drive along the
cobblestone driveway into the large parking structure. Take the elevator to the
second floor, grab a map and be prepared to be dazzled.
Once you’ve made your way around, you’ll enter at the top
level of the Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Outdoor Classical Theater. You can
walk down the steps to the courtyard or just sit on the stone seats and imagine
the wonderful plays they put on here; a full listing of the Getty’s program
information is available on their website. You’ll pass by the wonderful
restaurant (more on that later), walk down the stairs and enter the main part
of the Villa. 
Spend your first few minutes in the movie theater, learning
about how and why the Villa exists.  From
there, make your way into the small galleries to feast your eyes on the
priceless art and artifacts and wander through the Inner Peristyle and into the
East Garden. Tinkling fountains made of artful mosaic await your contemplation.
Apart from the artwork, the piece de resistance is the
sparkling pool surrounded by a tree and sculpture lined Outer Peristyle. Walk
in the sun or shade out to the terrace to marvel over spectacular views of the
vast Pacific Ocean.  Be sure to enjoy the
extensive Herb Garden, planted with fragrant herbs and fruit trees that would
have graced the grounds of the Villa dei Papiri.
My companion and I participated in one of the Getty’s
many hands-on art programs (we saw a flier when we got there). We lined up
outside the gift shop and were treated to an explanation of the technique of
line drawing with a paint brush by a docent, and led to the courtyard to try
our own hands. Some were more successful than others, and we were able to take
home our “artwork”.
After all that art, it was time for lunch at the casual Café
at the Getty Villa. This visit we shared a Mediterranean platter with hummus,
olives, cheese and pita bread, and each of us had a bowl of the delicious Soup
of the Day (spinach & zucchini puree).
We then took a spin through the gift shop to pick up a
memento of our visit (a charming book on creativity for me, angel coins for my
companion). We browsed through a large selection of jewelry and gifts and a
selection of art books and creative toys.
For our final moments at the Villa, we stood out on the
terrace and drank in the tranquility of the peaceful gardens and the vastness
of the Pacific.

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