If you love things Roman, and I do, you will love the Getty Villa. Actually, the villa features the arts and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, including the Etruscans who dwelled in Etruria before the Romans came to power. The artifacts are well worth visiting and the headset tour adds greatly to an appreciation of them. And the building itself is worth study as it is modeled after the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, Italy, a first century Roman country house. Since the villa in Herculaneum is not fully excavated, the architect of the Getty villa used details from houses in nearby Pompeii and Stabiae to complete his work. There are four gardens associated with the villa: the Inner Peristyle in the center of the villa; an Herb Garden outside the villa; the Outer Peristyle outside the villa’s south door; and the East Garden, lying beyond the East stair.
Etruscan artifacts, Roman artifacts, Greek artifacts
The Inner Peristyle garden features a reflection pool and statuary replicated from the findings at the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum. Acanthus, boxwood, bay laurel, and English ivy in this garden suggest the plantings of the original Roman gardens. In the Herb Garden you will see fruit trees, a large variety of culinary and medicinal herbs, and a small pool of waterlilies. In the large Outer Peristyle garden a long reflecting pool is surrounded by plantings featuring bay laurel, boxwood, myrtle, ivy, date palm, grape, pomgranate, iris, and oleander as well as by statues and sculptures copied from the ones in the Villa dei Papiri. In the middle of the beautiful East garden stands a fountain while sycamore and laurel trees give shade to the area. Theatrical masks decorate the mosaic fountain on the east wall in typical ancient Roman fashion.
Admission to the Villa is free but a reservation must be made and $10 paid for parking. A video about the Villa, free tours of the Villa, the gardens, and the antiquities are available. Nice gift shop but not garden oriented. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays and major holidays.