A Roman villa above the Malibu coast
Ensconced on its hill above the Pacific just west of Los Angeles, The Getty Villa is one of the great architecural/museum gems of the entire U.S...and it's FREE. This reproduction of a volcanically-buried Roman villa, excavated on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius, today houses the Getty Museum's collection of Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities.
The art, marble and gardens of these palatial grounds, infused with southern California's Mediterranean light, are completely detached from the freeways and smog of nearby L.A. My first visit to the Getty Villa was when I was still a high-school student on the East Coast of the U.S.; coming back years later, after having lived in Europe, the Getty was no less impressive...
While there's no admission cost, you do need to reserve advance tickets in order to visit.
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