January 25, 2007

A Day at the Getty Villa

We made reservations to see the Getty Villa right after we made plane reservations to California. The Villa is a museum complex near Malibu within sight of the Pacific Ocean. We visited the new Getty Museum in LA in 2001. At that time, the Villa was closed for renovation.

J. Paul Getty had the Villa built to house his collection of ancient art. Unfortunately he did not live to see it completed. It was designed to basically replicate the Villa dei Papiri, a Roman country house in Herculaneum that was buried when Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D.

For me, the building itself was more interesting than most of the artifacts. It gives you a feel for how wealthy Romans lived 2000 years ago. They enjoyed a high level of comfort, although at the expense of their slaves.

Adjacent to the Villa is a visitors' center and plaza with high walls that show stratigraphy. This feature along with some other elements were designed to suggest an archaeological dig such as that which took place at the Villa dei Papiri when it was unearthed.

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