Scalae Mirabilae et Sedile Scorteus, Getty Villa IV

Escher would have enjoyed these stairs.

After you have mourned the sunken agricola in the peristyle (exterior), you may return through the triclinium, barge into the peristyle (interior), hang right and ascend the Wonderful Stairs to the Second Floor. You may waste a lot of time on those awesome metal stairs, trying and trying (as did your frustrated Gettyguide) to get a snapshot that captures their wonderfulness. The pic above is the only one that made the grade.

See how the stairs are held up? It’s like an upside-down suspension bridge. Great struts looking like the shock system of a Bronze Age eighteen-wheeler hook onto the wall at one end and on their other end hook to a central vertical support. The hooks — like cable tighteners — have a thread so you can increase or decrease the tension depending on how boingy a staircase you desire. This day the stairs are set on extra-firm; no give at all. On other days, or so I hope, the stairs are as loose as a trampoline for unexpected fun.

After all this climbing up and down the Wonderful Stairs, you may well be pooped and eager to rest upon a leathern bench. The Getty Villa is swift to serve you:

Also available in beef jerky.

The bench may look like an infernal device from the Diocletianic Persecution, but go ahead, plunk yourself down and sigh. The leather thongs are supple and giving. Very kind to the footweary stair photographer. Note, while you baby your dogs, how the bench (sedile) provides a fine vantage to appreciate the floor. This floor is not content to merely prevent you from plummeting onto a ground floor Villa visitor. In keeping with the rest of the floors throughout the Villa, it must also look Romish. Little mosaic pieces set serpentine in the linoleum get the job done with snap.

TO BE CONTINUED…

The Getty Villa.
Pacific Palisades, California (part of Los Angeles, really)
On the Pacific Coast Highway just north of Sunset Blvd
You need an entrance ticket to get in.
The entrance ticket is FREE and easily obtained over the Web or with a single telephonic communication.
Parking will set you back one sawbuck.

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