Malibu History: How the Getty Villa came to be!


Ranked as the number one attraction in Malibu, The Getty Villa has a history that dates back to the 1st Century.  When oil investor J. Paul Getty first began collecting antiquity, he soon realized that his original gallery adjacent to his home in Pacific Palisades was rapidly filling up.  It is at this time that Getty consulted architect Stephen Garrett in 1968 stating, “I want to recreate The Villa de Papyri”.  The Villa de Papyri was first discovered in the 18th Century buried under layers of hardened volcanic debris from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.  In its prime, The Villa de Papyri itself was a private house in the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum and served as the residence of Julius Caesar’s father-in-law.

With months of intense research, Stephen Garrett was able to get his hands on a descriptive map drawn by the original engineer in charge of excavations, which later served as ground plans for The Getty Villa.  The large country house envisioned by J. Paul Getty is said to be “his most prized possession”, although Getty himself never had the chance to visit his newly constructed museum.  Opened in 1974, Getty’s passing two years later left The Getty Villa to the Getty Trust, which then constructed The Getty Museum in 1997.  Still home to a rare collection of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities, The Getty Villa is open 10:00 am to 5:00 pm every day of the week, excluding Tuesdays.


For more information on the history of real estate in Malibu and how we can help you find real estate of your own, contact RE/MAX ELITE Malibu at (310) 456-5888, or stop by 22917 Pacific Coast Hwy #210 Malibu, CA 90265 – we’re located just 8 minutes from The Getty Villa.

By Cody Garcia