Since opening its doors in 2006, the Ara Pacis Museum has caused more than its fair share of controversy, with its modernist glass and travertine façade splitting public opinion. The futuristic building, the work of architect Richard Meir, was one of Rome’s first major post-war architectural works and was built to house one of the city’s most significant ancient artworks.
Whatever your opinion of the museum itself, there’s no disputing the magnificence of its star exhibit – the Ara Pacis, or Altar of Peace, which dates back to 9 BC. The elaborate Roman sculpture is a gigantic marble altar towering over 35 feet (11 meters) high and built by the Emperor Augustus to symbolize peace in the Roman Empire. Today, the protected monument is preserved and displayed in its full glory, with the original structure augmented by reproductions of the panels already on display in the Villa Medici, the Vatican and the Louvre.
The Ara Pacis Museum is located on Lungotevere in Augusta in central Rome and is open daily from 9:30am to 7:30pm. Adult admission is €10.50.