Fabulous at 40: The Getty Villa

July 25, 2014

By Tab Byrum

The Getty Villa is 40 Years old this year, and thanks to some cosmetic work over several years and lots of TLC she looks gorgeous.


The Villa is located in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles, with a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean on one side and rolling hills on the other.

getty_3Aerial photo courtesy of architecture-pages.com

The Getty Villa is a museum dedicated to the study of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria and houses a collection of more than 44,000 items from ancient days.


J.Paul Getty built the Villa as an extension to the art gallery he had originally built at his home which is just up the hill from the Villa.  It opened in 1974 but J. Paul Getty never set foot in the museum before his death in 1976.

1976 photo of J. Paul Getty. Handout from Getty Oil Company.J. Paul Getty 1892-1976
Photo courtesy of ChasingAphrodite.com

 At the time of Getty’s death the Getty Museum and The Getty Villa inherited $661 million dollars.


 In 1997 the Getty Villa was closed and underwent a major renovation that took 9 years.  We visited the Getty Villa in the Fall of 2012 and let me tell you it’s extraordinary.  It’s so easy to lose yourself in the surroundings, with the ocean view of the Pacific it’s easy to imagine yourself strolling through an ancient home gazing out across the Mediterranean or Aegean Sea.


  The amount of ancient artifacts, artwork and sculptures is unparalleled.  We spent a few hours exploring the grounds and galleries of the Villa and it was just one ooh and aah after another.










If you find yourself planning a trip to California and Los Angeles be sure and put the Getty Villa on your to do list, it’s well worth a visit.  Happy 40th Birthday to a lovely lady by the sea.

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own.

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