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Pacific Palisades

 

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The Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, California

17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, California, one mile north of Sunset Boulevard

 

museum picture
museum statue

The Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades is every bit as interesting and absorbing as The Getty in Los Angeles. And both are free to see. Even if you had to pay, it would remain the world class museum worth seeing.

 

Pacific Palisades, Calif.--Take a day and see The Getty Villa, by all means. I had not read up on it, except to know it was all the buzz when it re-opened to the public after being closed for nearly a decade. Now that I've visited this rare gem, I hope to return and spend more time reading about the artifacts, statues, coins, jewelry and even pristine, beautiful glassware preserved from more than 2000 years ago. Every day items, decor such as vases and vessels, metal ornamental bowls and other rare items bring the cultures and people to life right before your eyes. It paints a picture of a societies that fortunately did something we do not today...they carved their messages in metal and stone, preserving them for thousands of years of generations to follow.

 

Think about it! If our Internet system and other artifacts that comprised our development vanished in some catastrophic earth event, what chance would there be for later civilizations to find and decipher the remnants of what we believed was so significant in our daily lives? Stone, marble and metal all seem so basic to our existence, and it is through them that we gaze back in time.  The Getty Villa is astounding for its collections, though some pieces will be replaced by 2010, and head back to Italy where there originated. 

 

Wealth and luxury, simplicity and beauty are immortalized in stone. J. Paul Getty was one of the richest men in the world, making much of his profit from oil in the vein of another art collector, Henry Huntington. Getty was wealthier, however. He fell in love with Italian art and architecture and collected so many sculptures and archaeologically significant pieces that he felt compelled to share them with the world, thus opening his home once a week to the public for viewing.

 

Getty Villa, which is open to the public free, is a facility he never lived in, but had build to house a portion of his expansive art collection. It is a copy of a Roman country house that one might have seen in Pompeii, Italy just before Mt. Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, Italy, is the property which was buried in volcanic lava and ash, that Getty copied as the ideal setting in which to place his valued artifacts. Since the largest portion of that property is still buried, architects were required to create composite designs integrating a mix of Roman houses from several Italian locales--Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Stabiae.

 

Terrazzo flooring, a room of 14 colors of marble called Room of Colored Marbles, a grand marble staircase connecting the two floors of the Museum building, and the Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities will rekindle your interest in history. It's hard to believe that so many items have been preserved in mint condition. In Southern California where earthquakes are guaranteed to occur, it's quite likely that preservation of the artifacts includes cases and displays that are created to house the priceless collections in a manner that hopefully can protect them even better than the devastation some survived in the Mt. Vesuvius eruption.