The Getty Villa is a stunning recreation of a Roman summer house in Herculameum, Italy that the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius destroyed. This country home is about as modest as the summer cottages in Newport, RI. The setting is on the mountainside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Given the architecture, the exhibits focus on Greek and Roman art. The bookstore maintains that focus by having deep concentrations in ancient subjects.
Tired of always not quite remembering most myths when they are referenced in literature or a crossword puzzle, I decided that a volume of myths would be a good resource. I was going to buy the Bulfinch edition since I’ve heard it referenced, but decided to as a sales clerk for help. As I’ve mentioned in the past, my disappointment with museum bookstores is the lack of a bookseller. I was pleasantly surprised that the employee I talked to was well versed in the advantages and disadvantages of the several options in the store. I ended up with Edith Hamilton’s Mythology largely because I liked how it was organized and the index was easy to use.
The collection of ‘original’ texts is impressive. I saw books by every Greek and Roman writer I could even vaguely remember, from Sophocles to Ovid and Virgil. Along with the original texts are modern books about every classical topic imaginable. The arts are well represented along with archeology, architecture, and all aspects of Roman life. The gardens at the Getty Villa are expansive and carefully modeled after the gardens in Roman times and the bookstore carries several options on the topic of gardens and their uses.
If you like your history in the form of a novel, current fiction about ancient times is in abundance. Colleen McCullough’s sagas weigh down almost an entire shelf. The children’s section contains fun books about all aspects of ancient life from stories, to building, to art. One employee mentioned how much Rick Riordan’s books excited kids about the ancient world and the store carried several Riordan options.
This small space packs a lot of punch and is a good place to delve into the ancient world. Plus, there is the added attraction of beautiful reproduction ancient glass and objects; truly the some stunning objects. (Note, anyone who checks in with Foursquare and tells the cashier will receive a 20% discount at the bookstore.)
17985 Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Palisades, CA
There is no charge to enter the museum, but parking is $15 and reservations are required.