At the Getty Villa, it's hard to figure out which is the more amazing sight – the replica Italian mansion with million-dollar views or the exquisite collection of Roman, Greek and Etruscan antiquities housed within. Whatever your predilection, there's plenty of architectural and artistic eye candy here to dazzle your retinas.
Opened in 2006 in a stunning reimagining of the 1st century Roman country house Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, visitors enter the Getty Villa via the open-air entry pavilion and along to the Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater – a 450-seat outdoor classical theatre modelled on ancient amphitheatres.
Around the grounds, open spaces and covered walkways or peristyles complement the art within through the considered use of herb gardens, flowers and plants which the ancient Romans would have used, as well as decorative fountains, bronze sculptures and reflecting pools.
Inside the two-level villa, furnished with palazzo floors and a grand marble staircase linking the floors, the permanent collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum numbers around 44,000 Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities dating from 6,500 B.C. to 400 A.D.
Over 1,200 works are on view in 23 galleries with a further five rooms dedicated to changing exhibitions. The galleries are arranged thematically including rooms dedicated to the Gods and Goddesses and the Stories of the Trojan War, to name a couple. On the second floor, you'll find the ancient Greek bronze 'Statue of a Victorious Youth', also known as the 'Getty Bronze' and one of the few such examples to survive to the modern era.
Entry to the Getty Villa is free with an advance online ticket. To visit from downtown Los Angeles, 40km away, take the Metro Rapid Bus 720 (direction Santa Monica) from Fifth Street and Grand Avenue to the Ocean Avenue/ Santa Monica Boulevard stop. Change to the Metro Express bus 534 (direction Malibu) and alight at the Getty Villa/ Coastline Drive stop which is directly across from the museum. The entire trip takes around 80 minutes.