2 people stand surrounded by columns and look at a blue sign

On Wednesday morning Getty Villa’s long-empty halls hummed with the sound of excited art lovers for the first time in over a year. Visitors were eager to share their feelings about being back to walk through the gardens and see some of their favorite parts of the Museum.

Does absence really make the heart grow fonder? Tickets sold out quickly for opening day. Visitors like Jennie Evering, who was eager to introduce the museum to her son, nabbed the first round of reservations offered in Getty’s Get Inspired newsletter. “It was so exciting,” she said. “The minute I saw it I just hopped right on to get tickets for myself and my best friend and her daughter.”

“There’s one specific room that I love to see here every time that I’m here,” said Glen Guse on his way to visit the museum for the first time in three years. “It’s the room that’s made out of all marble and granite. And all the walls and the onyx, you can see through it like a beautiful window. I’m very excited to see that.”

Others were just glad to be back. “I didn’t even check to see if there’s anything special, I just wanted to come and see the villa,” said Steven, who didn’t give his last name. His wife, Cynthia, was equally excited “My husband said, ‘it’s open, let’s go!’”

“It’s just, it’s something that’s normal,” Cynthia added. “And that is really empowering to me and really special. I’m glad you guys are open and it’s good to see you.” (It was great for everyone who works at Getty Villa to see you too!)

a long fountain surrounded by statues, plants and people

Gorgeous weather and friendly people, and of course, the exhibitions made for a unique reopening experience. Mesopotamia: Civilization Begins drew crowds eager to see one of the world’s first written documents, and artworks from its first cities. The permanent collection of Greek and Roman antiquities saw its faithful fans returning to check in on their favorites, and everyone eventually made their way to the outer peristyle to snap photos, take selfies, or simply take in the view and the Pacific breeze.

“Not many people are here so it seems like a private showing,” said Janice McCormick, while taking a moment to observe the work taking place at the herb garden. As guests come back, Getty Villa’s ticketing system ensures that there’s more than enough space to enjoy the grounds safely while social distancing.

“They did a really good job of keeping it safe with COVID restrictions it’s really safe over here, everybody should come,” said Diana Acosta as she wrapped up her visit. “Highly recommend,” agreed her friend, Roshelle.

Eager to come to the Getty Villa? Tickets can be reserved here.