Museum for one Object – Ara Pacis Augustae


The Tiber flooded the Ara Pacis Augustae Altar for years, covering it in layers and layers of mud until it was four meters underground. The first fragments of the temple, mentioned in ancient literature many times, were discovered in the 16th century, underneath San Lorenzo in Lucina, a basilica behind Palazzo Montecitorio or present-day Italian Parliament.

Parts of the temple were distributed across European museums: the Vatican, Louvre, Vila Medici and Uffizi. In the 20th century, additional fragments of Ara Pacis were found. The Italian Parliament encourages further research and joining the pieces into a whole near the Mausoleum of Augustus.

Ara Pacis Augustae is a peace altar entirely made of Carrara marble, situated close to the Mausoleum of Augustus. It was officially commissioned by the Roman Senate in 13 BC to honor Augustus’s return from Hispania and Gaul, after a three-year campaign and consecrated in 9 BC.

The new glass building of the Museo dell’ Ara Pacis was designed by Richard Meier in 2006. The museum is airy and has a lot of natural light, as a worthy dedication to Augustus’s idea of peace. The space in front of the museum, with lots of water and light, is one of the most pleasant places to take a short break in the middle of the city.

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