Southern California Sojourn

Text: Ken Freund • Photography: Ken Freund, Scott Hirko, J. Paul Getty Trust

Thanks to its mild climate, Los Angeles, California offers great riding almost every day of the year. And with its endless suburban sprawl and a plethora of interesting things to do and places to see, LA is a haven for motorcycle and scooter riders. We decided to take a day ride along the beach on our Piaggio BV250 test scooter and took in four great places all nearby in coastal Malibu and neighboring Pacific Palisades. With the economy on the skids, it's good to know that two people can get to all four places for less than $25 and a gallon of gas!

Getty Villa

Combining a Mediterranean climate and an Italian scooter with a trip to the recently renovated Getty Villa seemed like a natural. Surrounded by lush gardens and located high upon a hilltop overlooking azure Pacific waters, the Getty Villa is a superb destination. J. Paul Getty bought the 64-acre site in 1945 and opened the original museum in 1954. In 1968, he decided to recreate the Villa dei Papiri, a first-century Roman country home.

The Getty Villa opened in 1974 and closed in 1997 for nearly a decade of renovation. Today, it is a world-renowned educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Rome, Greece, and Etruria. Antiquities are arranged by themes, including Gods and Goddesses, Dionysus and the Theater, and Stories of the Trojan War.

The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Villa is now the home for approximately 44,000 Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities, of which over 1,200 are currently on view. The galleries are arranged by theme, allowing visitors to explore and understand the cultures, beliefs and artistic achievements of the ancient world. Many of the exhibits are priceless statues, busts and pottery from the Mediterranean region. Six galleries are devoted to changing exhibitions on themes related to the arts and cultures of antiquity. Plan to spend a few hours for your visit - more if you are an art lover, and bring a credit card for the museum store. There is a café on site which offers a full menu with indoor and outdoor dining, so you can stay all day if you like.

The Getty Villa site and galleries are open Thursday - Monday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. An advance, timed ticket is required for each adult, available online at www.getty.edu. Admission to the Getty Villa and to all exhibitions is free, but parking (car or motorcycle) is $ 10.

Getty's Villa is one of the best-kept secrets in the greater LA area. If you have the time, you should also check out The Getty Center in Los Angeles, which is among the top museums in the world, with thousands of paintings and artworks.

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For the complete touring article, including facts & information, map(s), and GPS files, please purchase the March/April 2009 back issue.