COVID-19 Response

Following guidance from the California Department of Public Health and local public health authorities, we are increasing public access and services in a phased approach at Hearst Castle®/Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument®. Before visiting, please review the COVID-19/FAQ tab on the home page. There you will find information and frequently asked questions regarding your trip to Hearst Castle. Updates about the overall Department of Parks and Recreation response to COVID-19, including safety information, are posted on parks.ca.gov. For more information from the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department click readyslo.org

Hearst Castle tours and the Visitor Center is currently closed. When we reopen, advanced reservations will be required to visit Hearst Castle and/or the Visitor Center

Displayed in the Assembly Room, the Venus Italica is one of Hearst Castle’s greatest masterpieces. The composition was created by Antonio Canova (1757-1822) to replace an ancient Greek statue in Florence, Italy, which was seized for France in 1802 during Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion. Canova, unwilling to do nothing more than carve a copy, instead invented a new figure, called the “Italian” Venus to distinguish it from the Greek sculpture. Its delicate beauty brought more requests to Canova for additional examples. A sophisticated Russian aristocrat wanted one, but he never finalized the purchase. Instead, Napoleon’s brother bought the statue, which was soon sold to the marquess of Lansdowne, a renowned English collector. When the Lansdowne collection was auctioned in 1930, Hearst acquired the statue and several of Lansdowne’s ancient Roman sculptures. Late in his life, Hearst donated those to the Los Angeles County Museum, but the exquisite Venus Italica remained in the Assembly Room.