Closed in 1997 for 9 years, the Getty opened its Italian villa doors again in early 2006. After multiple last-minute attempts to check out the Getty Villa, we finally got our act together and called a week in advance for tickets (they're free but attendance is limited with tickets only good for certain time slots each day.) I gotta say, for how much fore planning it takes to get the tickets, I was a little underwhelmed by it all.
The grounds--a replica of an ancient Italian villa buried under the ashes of Vesuvius--are definitely a more fitting backdrop to view the largely Roman and Greek statues and artwork than the modern Getty Museum, but the meticulously clean and orderly villa lacks much personality. I was more interested in the gardens than the artwork and we joined the audio tour of the gardens. The individual headsets magnifying what the live tour guide was saying were great but the guide's information centered around Italian history more than what we were looking at, and we soon lost interest and broke off to view the gardens on our own.
The petite herb garden looked nice but would have been more interesting if it came with plaques highlighting the names and uses of the different plants and the main garden with a rose bush flanked reflecting pool and the sparkling Pacific in the far distance was picturesque but there were no benches to sit and enjoy the space. Overall, the grounds were pretty, but more in a faux-authentic, Disney-fied way.
Inside, the majority of the original artwork has been moved to the new Getty and the remaining art focuses primarily on Roman, Greek and Egyptian sculptures, artifacts and paintings.
The Getty Villa is one of those things that's been on my to-do list for a while, so I'm glad I checked it out but if you're curious on what it looks like without really wanting to be bothered to book advance tickets and drive up to the Pacific Palisades, the pictures here pretty much cover all the highlights of the Villa.
310) 440-7300 for advance tickets