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The Ara Pacis Museum

The Ara Pacis Museum


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The Ara Pacis Museum (Museo dell Ara Pacis) in Rome houses the Altar of Peace, which was built under instructions from the Emperor Augustus and sanctioned by the Senate.

The Ara Pacis Museum

Augustus decided to build the Ara Pacis to celebrate his military campaigns which resulted in the outbreak of peace in the Mediterranean.

Dedicated on 30 January 9 BC, the Ara Pacis was originally located on a site known as the Field of Mars. The altar itself is surrounded by marble walls adorned with elaborate friezes of various figures, including senate members and members of Augustus’s family. These carved figures take part in a procession celebrating the peace brought about by Augustus.

Together with the altar, a sundial, composed of an Egyptian obelisk and known as Solarium Augusti, was erected in the same period.

Fragments of the monument were rediscovered in the 16th century, but the Ara Pacis site was not fully excavated until 1937.

In 1938, Italy’s dictator Benito Mussolini decided that the recomposed altar remains should be moved from their original location and prominently displayed in a dedicated building, intending to emphasize the glorious past of the then recently established Italian Empire. Therefore, he commissioned the Italian architect Vittorio Balio Morpurgo the design of a new home for the Ara Pacis near the Mausoleum of Augustus, together with which it would have created a monumental ensemble of Roman antiquities on the Tiber river bank.

The pavilion was inaugurated by Mussolini himself on September 23, 1938.

The protective pavilion was restored after World War II but, in the early ’90s, it became evident that the enclosure was no longer adequate to protect the monument from weather and pollution. A brand new building was therefore created after a design by American architectural firm Richard Meier & Partners and was inaugurated in 2006.

The Ara Pacis Museum today

Today situated in the historical city centre, not far from Piazzale Flaminio, it retains all of its ancient and evocative fascination. It stands inside a bright and spacious modern structure and the museum is divided into three main areas.

In 2017, the museum introduced an augmented reality installation which provides 360° interactive views of the original appearance of the altar with all its vividly colored decorations.

The Ara Pacis museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, live performances, and special events.

Getting to the Ara Pacis Museum

The museum is located on the Lungotevere in Augusta next to the Piazza Augusto Imperatore. Visitors can take bus lines 70,81,117, 119, 186 and 628 to get there.


Tickets for Ara Pacis Museum

Architect Richard Meier's Ara Pacis Museum is the only major contemporary structure to have been built in the historic center of Rome since World War II.

If you were living in Rome 2,000 years ago, you would now be very, very old. But also importantly: you would've been alive during the time of Augustus, the first Roman Emperor (and grand-nephew of Julius Caesar).

His reign ushered in a period known as the Pax Romana (The Roman Peace) a two-century long period when the Roman Empire was largely free from large-scale conflict.

The Ara Pacis ('Altar of Peace') was Augustus's way of declaring his commitment to peace. See the 'Altar of Peace', originally inaugurated in 9 BC and then buried for centuries, plus loads more as you walk right into living history.

Insider tip

Nearby Gusto (Piazza Augusto Imperatore 9) does a pretty fantastic aperitivo. Head there and get a faceful of delicious Italian snacks to go with your sunset wine.


Museum of the Ara Pacis – Rome

The Museo dell’Ara Pacis is an archaeological museum in Rome that houses the monumental altar dedicated to the Peace goddess it is named after, dating back to the 1st century BC. The current museum was completed in 2006 after a design by American architect Richard Meier.

History and architecture – from the Roman altar to the 1938 pavilion

The construction of the Ara Pacis was commissioned by Augustus and the Roman Senate to celebrate the successful military campaigns against the Gauls.
Dedicated to Peace, the giant marble altar was built in the Field of Mars (Italian: Campo Marzio), about half mile from its current site, and completed in January, 9 BC. Together with the altar, a sundial, composed of an Egyptian obelisk and known as Solarium Augusti, was erected in the same period.

The Ara Pacis is a small open roof building, 34.84 x 38.16 feet (10.62 x 11.63 meters) in plan and 12.07-foot-high (3.68 meters), with a sacrificial altar at its center and a frieze running along its external perimeter.
Fragments of the monument were rediscovered in the 16th century, but the Ara Pacis site was not fully excavated until 1937.

In 1938, Italy’s dictator Benito Mussolini decided that the recomposed altar remains should be moved from their original location and prominently displayed in a dedicated building, intending to emphasize the glorious past of the then recently established Italian Empire. Therefore, he commissioned the Italian architect Vittorio Balio Morpurgo the design of a new home for the Ara Pacis near the Mausoleum of Augustus, together with which it would have created a monumental ensemble of Roman antiquities on the Tiber river bank.
The pavilion was inaugurated by Mussolini himself on September 23, 1938.

Cutout drawing of the Ara Pacis by Guglielmo Gatti, image courtesy of University of Oregon

View of the pavilion designed by Morpurgo shortly before its demolition, in 2000 unknown photographer

Mussolini at the inauguration of the Ara Pacis pavilion, September 23, 1938

Reconstruction model of the Field of Mars in Rome with the Mausoleum of Augustus (bottom right), the Ara Pacis and the obelisk/sundial (center left), and the Pantheon (top center) note how the altar position differs from today’s one

Aerial view of Morpurgo’s pavilion in the late 󈨀s (down in the image, close to the Tiber river), the circular building behind it is the Mausoleum of Augustus

Richard Meier’s Ara Pacis Museum

The protective pavilion was restored after World War II but, in the early 󈨞s, it became evident that the enclosure was no longer adequate to protect the monument from weather and pollution. A brand new building was therefore created after a design by American architectural firm Richard Meier & Partners.

Inaugurated in 2006, the new museum is a daylight-filled building which, on a floor area of about 16,000 square feet (1,500 square meters), contains permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, a 140-seat auditorium, administration offices, and various visitor facilities.
In his design, Meier included a sequence of historical references, aimed to “reconnect” the modern pavilion with the history of the Ara Pacis and its site, such as the fountain close to the museum main entrance which alludes to the ancient Roman port of Ripetta once situated where the museum now stands, an artificial obelisk which mimics that once located in Campo Marzio, the original site of the altar, and the 1938 replica of Res gestae Divi Augusti (English: The Deeds of the Divine Augustus, a funerary inscription celebrating the life and accomplishments of Emperor Augustus) made as a decoration of the eastern facade of Morpurgo’s pavilion.

Proportions and materials of the new building – such as the travertine stone used to clad walls and pavement and the white marble plaster covering the columns in the atrium – are somewhat inspired by those of historical Roman architecture.
Along with being a museum, Meier’s pavilion was also designed as a state-of-the-art protective device for the altar remains inside it, which are facing serious conservation issues caused by the progressive degradation of their marble stone and metal parts. Therefore, the building comprises an array of active and passive technical solutions aimed to control the internal micro-climate, such as an advanced air conditioning system, daylight and artificial lighting control devices, radiant floor heating and cooling, and highly insulating glass panes.

The museum has also some flaws for example, sometimes during the day, the sun-screening louver system projects unpleasing shadows of the altar yet its architectural design is undoubtedly remarkable overall.

Richard Meier, the Ara Pacis museum in Rome, south facade photo © Roland Halbe, courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners

The Ara Pacis museum in Rome, site plan, ground floor and basement level plans, west and east elevations, longitudinal section images courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners

Exterior and interior views of the Ara Pacis Museum in Rome photos © Roland Halbe, courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners

A travertine-clad wall in the museum photo: Lawrence OP

The south facade at night photo: Massimiliano Giani

What to see at the Ara Pacis Museum

The museum is divided into three main areas.
The gallery on the south side of the building accommodates the reception space and an introductory exhibition and can be accessed by a stair and a ramp rising from the Tiber river banks.

After the introductory gallery, the visitors enter the central pavilion, a large hall, flooded by the diffuse light coming from a translucent glass ceiling, where the remains of the Ara Pacis are on view.
This is by far the most spectacular space of the museum, a truly engaging gallery that somewhat resembles the Parthenon Gallery of the Acropolis Museum in Athens, though at a much smaller scale.

In 2017, the museum introduced an augmented reality installation which provides 360° interactive views of the original appearance of the altar with all its vividly colored decorations (as many antique sculptural works, the frieze of the Ara Pacis was indeed not a pure, almost metaphysical, white relief as we are accustomed to seeing it today it was instead intensely painted with red, green, blue, and yellow pigments).

The third section of the museum contains the auditorium, two special exhibition spaces, and a publicly accessible terrace overlooking the Mausoleum of Augustus nearby.

The Ara Pacis museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, live performances, and special events. The building, fully accessible to physically impaired people, also accommodates a bookshop and a cafeteria.

Interior view of the Ara Pacis Museum in Rome photo © Roland Halbe, courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners

Close up view of the ancient marble heads on display in the museum photo: dvdbramhall

The Ara Pacis altar photo: Mzximvs VdB

Detail of the Ara Pacis frieze photo: Marialba Italia

Simulation of the augmented reality installation introduced in 2017 image courtesy of Museo dell’Ara Pacis, Rome

Cover image: photo © Roland Halbe, courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners


Ara Pacis Museum / Richard Meier & Partners

Text description provided by the architects. This museum on the bank of the Tiber River has been designed as a renewed setting for the Ara Pacis, a sacrificial altar dating to 9 B.C. and now located on the western edge of the Piazza Augusto Imperatore. Planned as part of an effort to protect Rome’s cultural legacy, the new structure replaces the monument’s previous enclosure, which was in a state of advanced decay. The structure consists of a long, single-story glazed loggia elevated above a shallow podium providing a transparent barrier between the embankment of the Tiber and the existing circular perimeter of the mausoleum of Augustus, built circa 28 B.C.

The altar was relocated from the Campo Marzio in 1938 during the Mussolini era, and a system of regulating lines was applied to the project to relate the altar’s present position to its original site. Bisecting the distance between the present center of the mausoleum and the original site yielded a four-square urban grid that was used as a proportional frame to reorganize the piazza and its surroundings. An artificial obelisk is used as a historical reference on the north-south axis through the altar.

The clarity of the volumes and the building’s proportions relate in scale to Rome’s ancient structures. A predominating feature of the new building is a glass curtain wall measuring 150 feet long and 40 feet high. The asymmetrical entry hall, defined by seven slender columns in reinforced concrete finished with white waxed marble plaster, leads to the main hall, which houses the Ara Pacis. The contrast between the subdued lighting of the entrance space and the expansive top-lit and rigorously symmetrical main hall encourages a naturally progressive circulation. The roof over the main hall rests on four columns with skylights to maximize natural lighting and to eliminate “false shadows.” Outside the main structure, a low travertine wall extending from within the main hall traces the ancient shore of the Tiber River. Building materials include glass and concrete and an indigenous fine beige Roman travertine.

Although housing and protecting the ancient altar was the main focus of this museum, the building also provides space for temporary exhibitions and installations dedicated to archaeological themes and a state-of-the-art digital library of Augustan culture. An outdoor roof terrace above the auditorium functions as an essential part of the circulation of the museum and includes a contiguous bar and café with views over the Mausoleum of Augustus to the east and the Tiber River to the west.


Celebrating the Royal Family

The panels surrounding the Altar (or Ara) are decorated with elaborated bas-reliefs, featuring a mix of mythological and historical narrative about Augustus and his administration. Its iconography has several levels of significance, and can be seen as a way to spread Augustus political propaganda.
The panel on the east side shows Augustus with the Imperial family organized following a hierarchical order.

The Ara Pacis is one of the few monuments in Rome where is possibile to actually see the faces of history, such as Livia, Augustus’s wife, Tiberius, Agrippa and Nero as a child, whose representations will be deleted from all the imperial monuments in Rome.

The variety of plants and flowers decorating the bottom panels were meant to remind to the people of Rome the prosperity and wealth that the new Pax Augustea had brought and will keep on bringing in the future to Rome.


Contents

Designed by the American architect Richard Meier and built in steel, travertine, glass and plaster, the museum is the first great architectural and urban intervention in the historic centre of Rome since the Fascist era. [1] It is a structure with a triumphal nature, clearly alluding to the style of imperial Rome. Wide glazed surfaces allow the viewer to admire the Ara Pacis with uniform lighting conditions. [2]

The white color is a hallmark of Richard Meier's work, while the travertine plates decorating part of the building reflect design changes (aluminum surfaces were initially planned), that came after a design review to consider controversies where nostalgia arose for the previous pavilion that was built on the site in 1938 by the architect Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo.

Meier's ambitious project imposes itself into the heart of the city, becoming a nerve center and exchange center. In its completed form, the complex is intended to have a pedestrian path allowing a direct connection to the Tiber, via an underpass. Presently the underpass design seems innactive. [3]

The building, designed by architect Richard Meier, was inaugurated and opened to the public after seven years of works, on April 21, 2006 (the anniversary of the traditional date of the foundation of Rome). [4]

During the night of May 31, 2009, unknown persons defaced the white outer wall with green and red paint and placed a toilet bowl at the foot of the wall. [5]

On December 12, 2009, a group of activists of Earth First!, during the Copenhagen Summit, colored the water of the fountain green and affixed on the side facing Via Tomacelli a banner saying "Earth First! Act Now". The officers and the employees of the museum intervened immediately, removing the banner and emptying the fountain.

The building has attracted conflicting opinions. [6] The New York Times judged it a flop, while the famous art critic and polemicist Vittorio Sgarbi called it, "A Texas gas station in the very earth of one of the most important urban centres in the world", and the first step towards an "internationalisation" of the city of Rome. Nonetheless, opinion was not unanimous at all [7] and, for instance, Achille Bonito Oliva praised Meier's design. [8]

In November 2013 a faulty roof allowed water to leak into the building during heavy rain. Staff members had to use buckets to remove water from the top of the altar. [9]

During one of his first declarations after being elected Mayor of Rome (April 2008), Gianni Alemanno announced his intention to remove Meier's building, on the grounds that the Roman right wing had always disapproved. However, Alemanno himself later pointed out that the removal was not a priority of his administration. [10]


Ara Pacis Augustae

This web publication honors all those who have worked
to bring the Ara Pacis so impressively back to life.


The Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace), known as the "Ara Pacis", is a world famous Roman monument housed in a new museum opened in 2006, the Museo dell'Ara Pacis. The Ara Pacis has undergone extensive changes since first constructed in 13-9 BCE during the reign of Augustus. Like much of ancient Rome, it was gradually covered by earth and later buildings and was even forgotten for many centuries. During the long, complicated process of rediscovery, the most transforming event was the remarkable excavation and reconstruction of much of the Ara Pacis at a new location in 1937-38. It remains in this new location, between the Tiber River and the Mausoleum of Augustus, with hundreds of small changes and restorations, but largely as reconstructed at that time. The new museum building dramatically improves the conditions under which the Ara Pacis is preserved from further deterioration. The Ara Pacis continues to provide one of the primary sources for our understanding of Augustan art, social structure and political history.

Purpose of this Website

The main purpose of this website is to make available a larger, more comprehensive body of high quality images of the Ara Pacis Augustae than previously available in any print or web publication. This includes images of the monument itself, of the Museo dell’Ara Pacis in which the altar is newly housed and displayed, and of closely related materials.

I think of this website partly as a supplement to the superb 2006/2009 volume, Ara Pacis, by Orietta Rossini, Responsabile Ufficio Ara Pacis, which provides authoritative, up-to-date reviews of all aspects of the monument, with outstanding illustrations. This is now the single most informative volume about the Ara Pacis.

A Changing Monument

It is natural to think of the Ara Pacis as a permanent monument, fixed in time and place. This website attempts to present it as an actively changing creation, revealing not only concepts of Augustan Rome, but also of later times and places including our own.

In recent years, scholars have become increasingly aware of the extent to which important aspects of the 1938 restoration were necessarily speculative. Because so few fragment, in some cases none, survived for major sections of the structure and reliefs, a visually complete monument could only be created by informed but hypothetical judgments. Even this was possible only because of the world leading expertise of Italian archaeologists and restorers at the time. It is remarkable what was accomplished under extreme pressure in less than a year. This was one of the most impressive accomplishments of 20th century archaeology. Nevertheless, interpretations of the Ara Pacis are now being revisited, based on additional evidence, including study of the hundreds of choices, large and small, made in the 1938 reconstruction. In some cases this has resulted in scholalry concensus regarding more convincing placement of parts, more likely spacing of relief slabs, and proposals for more characteristic architectural forms. Each of these has affected our understanding of the Ara Pacis and its interpretation.

Instead of a simple archive, this website organizes images in closely related groupings, encouraging comparisons among original marble sections, later marble and concrete additions, and plaster casts between alternative proposals for the reconstruction of reliefs between the appearance of the Ara Pacis today and how it might have looked brightly painted in Augustan times and between the 1938 and 2006 buildings constructed to house the Ara Pacis. Two or more images may be opened at the same time for comparison.

Audience

The main audience I have in mind is college and university students and faculty. This website was partly inspired by the fabled freshman humanities course at Reed College, in which it was my privilege to teach for several years. This is a year-long, interdisciplinary course, taught by faculty from a range of disciplines, focusing on the development of culture in the ancient Mediterranean, especially those of ancient Greece and Rome. At the same time, I hope that the ready availability of drawings, prints, and early photographs, and of hundreds of recent details not otherwise available, will facilitate the work of scholars, on whose publications this web site so heavily depends.

Terminology and Interpretation

The titles, captions and text on this website favor the most up-to-date scholarly consensus on identifications and descriptions. There is no engagement with the ongoing scholarly debates regarding identification of persons represented and political interpretation that have so enriched our understanding of Augustan art and society. We must constantly remind ourselves that many aspects of interpretation must remain hypothetical. Publications on the Ara Pacis are, quite properly, sprinkled with phrases such as &ldquogenerally recognized as&rdquo, &ldquohas recently been challenged&rdquo, &ldquoleaving much room for doubt&rdquo, &ldquoit may also be read as&rdquo, &ldquothere are two proposals&rdquo, "cannot be accepted without hesitation", and &ldquoless&rdquo, &ldquoequally&rdquo, and &ldquovery likely&rdquo. These images are provided partly to support these continuing re-evaluations. In the text on the thumbnail image pages, a few suggestions are made for revisions in terminology and restoration.

Structure of the Website

This website attempts to combine the advantages of book and web publication. The basic structure is that of an academic book, taking advantage of standard features that have been developed and tested over the years. Thus, the contents page, comparable to a sitemap, attempts to make the organization of the material as clear as possible, and the material within is organized in what might be thought of as brief chapters and pages. In the text section, there is a chronology, bibliography, and an alphabetical index, almost never seen on web sites, but a useful feature of all scholarly books. At the same time, this website takes advantage of many of the revolutionary advantages of web publication such as the ability to link both within and without a web site, and, most importantly, the remarkable ability of the web to publish over a thousand large, high quality color images, well-beyond the financial possibilitiy of print publication, and to make these available worldwide to anyone with access to a computer and the internet. The digital revolution is comparable to the invention of printing, photography, and the airplane, all happening at the same time and at lightning speed.

This website is not affiliated with the Museo dell'Ara Pacis.

Charles S. Rhyne
Professor Emeritus, Art History
Reed College
Portland, Oregon, USA


The Ara Pacis Museum - History

The Ara Pacis Museum belongs to the System of Museums in the Municipality of Rome it contains the Ara Pacis of Augustus, inaugurated on January 30, 9 BC. In 2006 it replaced the previous display case of the architect Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo, erected in the 1930s to protect the monument.

History
“When I returned to Rome from Gaul and from Spain, in the consulship of Tiberius Nero and Publius Quintilio, having brought to a satisfactory finish my works in these provinces, the Senate decreed that there should be consecrated in the Field of Mars an altar to the Augustan Peace and ordered that the officials, priests and vestal virgins should celebrate a sacrifice at it every year.”

It is with these words that Augustus, in his spiritual testimony, the Res Gestae, tells us of the Senate’s decision to construct an altar to Peace, following the conclusion of his labours North of the Alps from 16 to 13 B.C., subjecting the Reti and the Vindelici, establishing definitive control over the Alpine passes, and visiting Spain, finally at peace, founding new colonies and imposing new tributes.

The ceremonial dedication of the Altar of Peace, took place on the 30th January in the year 9 B.C. It seems, according to the evidence provided by the historian Cassius Dione (LIV, 25.3), that at first the Senate had planned to build an altar within their own building, the Curia, but the idea was not followed through and the northernmost part of the Field of Mars, which had recently been urbanised, was chosen instead. The altar dedicated to peace came, therefore, and not by chance, to be built in the middle of a vast plain, on which, traditionally, the manoeuvres of the infantry and the cavalry took place, and, in more recent times, the gymnastic exercises of the Roman youth.

The Ara Pacis in the Field of Mars
The Altar was constructed, by Augustus’ own decision, in the northern part of the Field of Mars, in a zone near to the sacred confines of the city (the pomerium), where fifteen years earlier Octavian had wanted to build his Mausoleum, a dynastic tomb. Now, with the title of Augustus, he hastened to construct, at the same time as the Ara Pacis, a huge solar clock, which was to take its name from him, and be called the Sundial of Augustus.

Strabo, a greek writer, has left us an admiring account of Augustan Rome, which in those days extended between the Via Lata, now the Via del Corso, and the sweeping curve of Tiber. After describing the verdant plain, shaded by sacred groves, and the porticoes, circuses, gymnasia, theatres and temples, which were being built there, Strabo goes on to talk about the sacred area of the northern part of the Field of Mars, sacred precisely because of the existence of the Mausoleum and the ustrinum, in which, in 14 A.D. Augustus’ mortal remains were burnt. Between the Mausoleum and the ustrinum there was a sacred grove, full of charming walks. To the south-east, about 300 metres distant from the Mausoleum, rose the Sundial and the Ara Pacis – themselves in fact not described by Strabo – which delimited the area of the plain given over to Augustus’ memory.

The ideological urban planning used in the northern part of the Field of Mars only lasted for a short time and within a few decades the integrity of the Sundial was compromised. The level of the land rose relentlessly throughout the area, largely due to the inundations of the Tiber there were efforts to protect the Ara Pacis by building a wall to halt the process by which the ground level was rising, but obviously these precautions were ineffective in the face of the continual filling in of the entire area. The destiny of the Ara Pacis was therefore sealed and its obliteration irreversible. For more than a millennium silence fell on the Ara Pacis, and the monument was lost even to memory.

The rediscovery
The recovery of the Ara Pacis began in the sixteenth century, and finished four centuries later, after many chance discoveries and amazing excavations, with the recomposition of the monument in 1938.

The first sign of the resurgence of the altar from the foundations of the Palace of the Via di Lucina (successively owned by the Peretti, then the Fiano, then the Almagià families) came from an engraving made by Agostino Veneziano some time before 1536, which represented a swan with spread wings along with a sizeable piece of spiralled frieze. This is a clear sign that at that date the corresponding plaster-work of the Ara Pacis was already known. A subsequent recovery attempttook place in 1566, the year in which the cardinal Giovanni Ricci di Montepulciano acquired 9 large blocks of carved marble, which came from the Altar.

After this rediscovery, we hear nothing more about the altar until 1859, when the Peretti Palace, which had by now become the property of the Duke of Fiano, needed structural work, during which the base of the altar was seen, and numerous other sculpted fragments, not all of which were extracted “due to the narrowness of the site and fear of endangering the walls of the palace”. Numerous fragments of the spiralled frieze were recovered on this occasion, but it was only in 1903, following Friedrich von Duhn’s recognition of what the Altar was, that a request was sent to the Ministry of Public Education to continue the excavations. Their success was made possible by the generosity of Edoardo Almagià, who, as well as giving his permission for the exploration, donated in advance whatever should be discovered underneath the palace and made an ongoing financial contribution to the expenses of the excavation.

In July 1903, after the work had been started, it quickly became obvious that the conditions were extremely difficult and that the stability of the palace might well be compromised in the long-term. Therefore, when about half the monument had been examined and 53 fragments recovered, the excavation was called to a halt. In February 1937, the Italian Cabinet decreed that, as it was the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Augustus, the excavations should recommence, using the most advanced technology.

Between June and September 1938, as the excavations continued, work also began on the pavilion intended to house the Ara Pacis by the banks of the Tiber. On the 23rd September, the date on which the Augustan year ended, Mussolini inaugurated the monument.

The twentieth century pavilion
On the 20th of January 1937 an investigation was begun into the possibility of reconstructing the altar. As the idea of recreating the altar in its original position had been rejected from the moment at which it became clear that this would involve the destruction of the Fiano-Almagià palace, various alternatives were proposed: reconstruction in the Museum of the Baths, the building of a subterranean museum under the Augusteum, or the reconstruction of the Ara Pacis on the Via dell’Impero.

But it was Mussolini who decided to reconstruct the Altar near to the Augusteum, “under a colonnaded building” between the Via di Ripetta, and doing it in less than a year and a half. The final design, presented to the Governorship in November 1937, was not entirely respected during the building works, probably because of the serious delays that accumulated during the work. In fact, Ditta Vaselli, who had won the competition to make the building, was only given the site a few months before the 23rd September, the date fixed for the inauguration of the Altar of Peace. Morpurgo, the pavilion’s designer, never came to terms with the ways in which the design had been simplified: cement and fake porphyry were used instead of travertine and precious marble, while the rhythm and course of the pilasters, both on the sides and the façade, had been changed.

Behind these compromises was an unwritten agreement between the architect and the Governorship, to build only on a provisional basis and to return the building gradually to its original design after the inauguration. However the sums of money required, the uncertainty of the time-scale and the war hanging over the entire project, meant that this was never accomplished.

During the years of conflict, the glass was removed and the monument was protected with sandbags, subsequently replaced by an anti-shrapnel wall. It was only in 1970 that the building was cleaned up.

Structure
Designed by the American architect Richard Meier and built in steel, travertine, glass and plaster, the museum is the first great architectural and urban intervention in the historic centre of Rome since the Fascist era. It is a structure with a triumphal nature, clearly alluding to the style of imperial Rome. Wide glazed surfaces allow the viewer to admire the Ara Pacis with uniform lighting conditions.

The white colour is the trademark of Richard Meier, while the travertine plates decorating part of the building are a consequence of in-progress changes (aluminum surfaces were initially planned), after a design review following controversies with some nostalgia for the previous pavilion that was built in 1938 by the architect Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo.

The challenging design of Meier wants to assert itself in the very hearth of the town, becoming a nerve and transit centre. The complex was intended to include a crosswalk with an underpass linking the museum to the Tiber river presently the underpass design seems to have been abandoned completely.

External
The fence is placed on a large marble basement, almost entirely restored, and is divided into two decorative registers: the lower plant register, the upper figured one, with representation of mythical scenes on the sides of the two entrances and with a procession of characters on the other sides. Among them is a separation band with a swastika motif, widely rebuilt.

On the North and South sides, two crowded groups of characters are represented, moving from left to right among them appear priests, assistants to worship, magistrates, men, women and children, whose historical identity can only be reconstructed hypothetically. The action performed by the procession is not entirely certain: in fact, according to some, the scene represents the reditus of Augustus, that is, the welcoming ceremony given to the princeps upon returning from his long stay in Gaul and Spain according to others, it represents the inauguration of the Ara Pacis itself, that is the ceremony during which, in 13 BC, the space on which the altar would rise was delimited and consecrated. The cortege, on both sides of the fence, is opened by lictors, followed by members of the highest priestly colleges and perhaps by consules. Immediately afterwards the members of Augustus’ family begin to parade.

West side
On the left side of the front of the fence, the panel with the representation of the myth of the foundation of Rome is preserved: Romulus and Remus are suckled by the she-wolf in the presence of Faustolus, the shepherd who will adopt and raise the twins, and of Mars, the god who he had created them by joining with the vestal Rea Silvia.

At the center of the composition is the rumen fig, under which the twins were nursed. On the tree one can distinguish the claws of a bird, completed in 1938 as an eagle, but perhaps a woodpecker which, like the she-wolf, is sacred to Mars. The god is represented in his warrior clothes, equipped with a spear, crested helmet adorned with a griffin and armor on which the head of a Gorgon stands out.

On the right of the front of the fence, the relief depicting Aeneas, already over the years, which sacrifices to the Penates and is therefore portrayed in a priestly garment with his head covered, in the act of making an offer on a rustic altar. The final part of the right arm was lost, but almost certainly supported a patera, a ritual cup, as suggests by the presence of a young assistant to the rite (camillus) who carries a tray with fruit and bread and a jug in his right hand. A second rite assistant pushes a sow towards the sacrifice, probably on the very place where the city of Lavinium will be foundedif you interpret the scene in the light of the VIII book of the Aeneid. Recently, however, it has been hypothesized that the person who sacrifices is Numa Pompilio, the second of the seven kings of Rome, who celebrated a sacrifice in harmony with the Sabines and the Romans in the Campo Marzio, during which a sow was sacrificed.

East side
To the left of the east side of the fence is the panel with the depiction of Tellus, the Mother Earth, or, according to a different interpretation, Venus, divine mother of Aeneas and progenitor of the Gens Iulia, to which Augustus himself belongs. A further reading interprets this central figure as the Pax Augusta, the Peace, from which the altar takes its name.

The goddess sits on the rocks, dressed in a light chiton. On the veiled head, a wreath of flowers and fruit. At his feet, an ox and a sheep. The goddess holds two putti on her sides, one of which draws her gaze by offering her a pommel. In his womb, a bunch of grapes and pomegranates complete the portrait of the parent deity, thanks to which men, animals and vegetation thrive. On the sides of the panel two young women, the Aurae velificantes, one sitting on a sea dragon, the other on a swan, symbol respectively of the beneficial winds of sea and land.

On the right panel there is a fragment of the relief of the goddess Roma. The represented figure was completed “scratching” on mortar. In view of the fact that she is sitting on a trophy of weapons, it can only be the goddess Rome, whose presence must be read in close relation to that of Venus- Tellus, as prosperity and peace are guaranteed by victorious Rome. The goddess is represented as an Amazon: the head encircled by the helmet, the naked breast denuded, the shoulder Balteus holding a short sword, a shaft in the right hand. Most likely the personifications of Honos and Virtus were part of the scene, placed on the sides of the goddess, in the guise of two young male divinities.

South side
On the South side, Augustus himself, crowned with laurel, the four flamines maiores, priests with the characteristic headdress surmounted by a metal tip, Agrippa, depicted with the head covered by the flap of the robe and with a roll of parchment in the right hand and finally the little Gaius Caesar, his son, holding on to his father’s clothes. Agrippa is the strong man of the empire, friend and son-in-law of Augustus, whose daughter Giulia he married at second marriage. He is also the father of Gaius and Lucio Cesari, adopted by his grandfather and destined to succeed him in command.

Gaius is turned towards the female figure who follows him, in which Livia, the prince’s bride, is usually recognized, represented with the veiled head and the laurel wreath that make it a figure of high rank. According to a more recent interpretation, this figure should instead be identified with Giulia, who would appear here following her husband and her eldest son Gaius. In the male figure below, Tiberius is generally recognized, although this identification must be questioned in consideration of the fact that the character wears plebeian shoes, a detail that does not suit Tiberius, descendant of one of the most noble Roman families. The so-called Tiberius is followed by a family group, probably formed by Antonia Minore, grandson of Augustus, by her husband Druso and by their Germanic son. Drusus is the only portrait in military clothes, with the characteristic military dress, the paludamentum: in fact in 13 BC he found himself engaged in fighting the Germanic tribes east of the Rhine.

A second family group follows, probably formed by Antonia Maggiore, grandson of Augustus, by her husband Lucio Domizio Enobarbo, consul in 16 BC, and by their children Domizia and Gneo Domizio Enobarbo, Nero’s future father.

North side
Beginning the reading from the left, Lucio Cesare, the second son of Agrippa and Giulia, also adopted by Augustus, was recognized among the parades. Here he is depicted as the youngest of children, led by the hand. The veiled female figure that follows could be that of the mother Giulia, towards whom the looks of those around are converging. Many however believe that Giulia should be recognized on the other side of the parade, in place of Livia who would then replace her on this side.

The matronal figure placed behind Giulia / Livia is generally recognized as Ottavia Minore, Augustus’ sister. Between the two women stands out the figure of a young man, recognized as the third son of Agrippa and his first wife Marcella Maggiore. Behind Octavia, little Giulia Minore is clearly visible and, as Augustus’ grandson, enjoys the right to appear first among the girls present at the ceremony. Instead, the identity of the figures behind the little Giulia remains very uncertain.

Lower register
The lower register of the fence is decorated with a vegetable frieze made up of spirals that start from a luxuriant acanthus head a vegetable candlestick rises vertically from the center of the acanthus. Ivy, laurel and vine leaves develop from the spirals of the acanthus, tendrils and palmettes depart, and where the stems thin, spiraling, flowers of all varieties bloom. The dense vegetation is home to small animals and twenty swans with spread wings, which mark the rhythm of the composition.

This vegetable relief has often been referred to the IV Ecloga of Virgil, where the seculum aureum, the return of the happy and peaceful age is announced with the copious and spontaneous production of fruits and crops. Beyond the generic appeal to fertility and abundance, following the return of the golden age, the frieze can also be read as an image of the pax deorum, of the reconciliation of the divine forces that govern the entire universe, made possible by the advent of Augustus.

Internal
The interior of the fence is, like the exterior, divided into two overlapping areas and separated by a band decorated with palmettes. In the lower register the simplified decoration seems to reproduce the motif of the planks of the wooden fence that delimited the sacred space the upper register instead is enriched by a motif of festoons and bucrani (animal skulls) interspersed with paterae or ritual cups.

Lower register
The Ara Pacis, composed of a fence that encloses the altar itself, reproduces the forms of a templum minus, as described by Festo: “The templa minora” are created by the Auguri (priests) by enclosing the chosen places with wooden boards or with drapes, so that they do not have more than one entrance, and delimiting the space with established formulas. So the temple is the fenced and consecrated place so as to remain open on one side and have corners well fixed on the ground “.

If an exception is made for the entrances, which in the case of the Ara Pacis are two, this description fits particularly well with this monument and its internal decoration which, in the lower part, represents the wooden plank which, in the archaic temples, delimited the “inaugurated” space with sacred formulas.

Upper register
The motif of festoons and bucrani (animal skulls) interspersed with paterae or ritual cups refers to the decoration that was placed above the wooden fence, in this case adorned with extraordinarily laden wreaths of ears, berries and fruit of every season, both cultivated and spontaneous, fixed to the supports by vittae, or sacred bandages.

Altar
The Ara Pacis is composed of an enclosure that encloses the canteen, the altar itself, on which the animal remains and wine were offered. The canteen occupies almost entirely the space inside the enclosure, from which it is separated by a narrow corridor whose floor is slightly inclined towards the outside, in such a way as to favor the escape of the waters, both rainwater and the wash-basin following the sacrifices, through drain channels open along the perimeter.

The altar consists of a podium of four steps on which a base rests, which has four other steps on the forehead alone. Above them stands the canteen, squeezed between two lateral forepart.

The two lateral sides present acroters with vegetal volutes and winged lions. Most likely, the fragments of the altar frieze refer to a sacrifice, perhaps the same one at the Pax Augusta that the Senate had decreed to be celebrated every year, on January 30th, on the anniversary of the consecration of the altar.

Left side rail
On the inside of the left bank there are the Vestals, six in all, represented with their heads covered: they are the virgines named by the pontifex maximus, the highest priestly office, chosen from the aristocratic girls between six and ten years of age, who they remained keepers of the sacred fire for 30 years. Here we see them during the ceremony accompanied by helpers.

The frieze facing that of the Vestals, there remains only a fragment with two figures, the first of which represents a priest, more exactly a flamen, while in the following character we wanted to recognize the stasso Augusto, perhaps represented in the role of pontifex maximus, a position he took on in 12 BC, just as the Ara Pacis was under construction.

Right side rail
On the external right bank there is a procession with three animals, two cattle and a sheep, led to the sacrifice by twelve employees (victimarii). In their hands the tools of sacrifice: the trays, the knife, the mace and the laurel branch for sprinkling. They are preceded by a togato (or perhaps a priest) accompanied by helpers and assistants to the cult.

Restoration
The first attempts at restoration of the Ara Pacis and the pavilion on the banks of the Tiber, in which it was displayed, date from the beginning of 1950, when the Municipality decided to free the structure from the protective wall in which was enclosed, repair the entablature of the altar which had been damaged by anti air raid protection, and to construct between the pilasters, in place of the glass which had been removed during the war, a wall 4.5 metres in height. The real refurbishment of the pavilion only took place in 1970 when the new crystal panes put in place.

During the Eighties, the first systematic restoration work began on the Altar. It was dismantled and several of the iron pivots supporting the projecting parts of the reliefs were substituted fractures in the mortar were repaired, the restoration work that had already taken place was consolidated, the non-original parts were recoloured, and, naturally, the dust and deposits that had collected over the years were removed. It was during this work that the head now recognised as belonging to Honour, which had been mistakenly inserted into the Aeneas panel, was removed.

Although the refurbished glass did not adequately isolate the monument, it was hoped that the work done in the Eighties would be sufficient for effective long term conservation of the monument. However by the mid-Nineties problems were already becoming apparent: the ranges of temperature and humidity were too wide and the changes too sudden, causing a series of microfractures to open up again in the mortar humidity was also causing those of the iron pivots which it had not been possible to replace to expand, thus fracturing the inside of the marble a survey done of the state of the huge panes gave the worrying result that they were becoming detached from the supporting wall and finally a layer of greasy and acidic dust had been deposited with astonishing rapidity over all of the surface of the altar, a result of the uncontrolled increase in traffic pollution and heating. The precarious conditions of the monument, and the impossibility resolving them by transforming the existing building, led the Municipality of Rome, in 1995, to start thinking about instead replacing the pavilion.

The Ara Pacis has been restored to the public after a long period of inaccessibility, while vital works were carried out to create conditions suitable for conserving the monument over a long period.

An study done in the Nineties showed the altar to be in such an alarming condition that the Municipal Administration decided to undertake very significant changes and to substitute the container, which had been constructed from an design by Morpurgo in 1938 and was proving entirely inadequate to protect the most precious monument of the Augustan age from dust, exhaust gases, vibrations, changes in temperature and humidity, with a museum complex built in accordance with the most up to date conservation criteria.

The museum space was designed by the architectural studio of the American architect Richard Meier. It modulates around the contrast of light and shade: the first two parts of the building, particularly, are governed by this concept: visitors pass through the access gallery, an area in shadow, to reach the central pavilion which holds the Ara Pacis in full natural light filtered through 500 square metres of crystal panels. This expanse creates an uninterrupted continuity with the outside world, and also helps to create the silence necessary to enjoy the monument in full. In the tranquillity of the acoustic isolation, it is possible to appreciate the calm rhythms of the decorative motifs to attend to the procession passing along the sides of the enclosure of the Altar, made up of the massed priests of the Augustan age and of members of the imperial family, guided by Augustus himself to revisit the founding myths of Rome and the Augustan glory that brought the empire the enjoyment of such contented times that the period came to be called the Age of Gold.

The Meier project
The new museum complex for the Ara Pacis was designed by Richard Meier & Partners Architects, an architectural studio in the United States, which has been responsible for several of the most notable museums of the second half of the twentieth century. The building work for the project was awarded to the Italian company Marie Engineering and was overseen, for the Municipal Administration, by the Government Office of Cultural Assets and the Office of the Historic City. The building, which remains substantially unaltered, was designed to be permeable and transparent in the midst of an urban environment, without compromising the safety of the monument. The structure follows a linear course, which develops along the principal north-south axis and is articulated by its covered areas, an environment completely closed in and in a closed area, but visually open to the penetration of light.

The new museum complex, which ricompone la quinta edilizia to the west of the Tridente area, is subdivided into three principle sections. The first section, a gallery closed off from natural light, is reached through a staircase which negotiates the disparate levels of the Via di Ripetta and the bank of the Tiber, and links the new construction to the pre-existing neoclassical church. The staircase makes use of two elements which connect it to the past: a fountain, a relic of the Ripetta Gate which remained in the area, and a column, which is placed at the same distance from the Altar as, in the age of Augustus, it stood from the great sundial’s obelisk. The Gallery, which contains the entrance areas, performs the double function of introducing the visitor to the monument and “screening” the Altar from the sundial. After the shade of this section, comes the central Pavilion, where by day the Altar is bathed in light diffused by skylights and by wide panels of filtering crystal. This was achieved by mounting more than 1500 square metres of tempered glass, in plates of up to three by five metres each, so as to prevent the Pavilion from having a cage-like appearance and to guarantee the greatest possibility visibility.

The third section, to the north, contains a Conference Hall, laid out over two floors and provided with an area for restoration work. Above the hall stands a spacious terrace facing onto the Mausoleum of Augustus and open to the public. Profiting from the disparate levels of the Lungotevere and the Via di Ripetta, a vast semi-underground floor has also been dug out, flanked on either side by the Wall of the Res Gestae, the only element of the old pavilion that has been preserved. A library will be built in this space, as well as staff offices and two large and artificially lit rooms, where those fragments of the altar which were not part of the 1938 reconstruction will be displayed, as well as other important reliefs from the so-called Altar of Piety. These spaces will also be used for temporary exhibitions. It will be possible to access them either internally or by two independent entrances at the North and South of the Via di Ripetta.

The materials and technologies
The design of the new museum is of the highest quality, as are the first class materials that were used to build it. The materials were chosen with a view to integrating the building with its surroundings: the travertine gives continuity in the colour scheme, the plaster and glass, which create a two-way transition between the interior and exterior, give a contemporary effect of volume and transparency, simultaneously full and empty.

The travertine comes from the same quarry as the stone that was used to build the Piazza of the Emperor Augustus in the Thirties it was also, more recently, used by Richard Meier for the Getty Centre in Los Angeles and other important architectural works. It has been worked in a ‘cracked’ fashion, which, in conjunction with the characteristics of the stone itself make it a unique material the technique the produced it was honed by Meier himself. The lighting, both internal and external, uses reflectors with anti-dazzle accessories during both the night and day, filters to enhance the colour and lenses which restrict and modulate the distribution of the light rays in relation to the characteristics of the objects on display.

The white Sto-Verotec plaster, already a material in traditional use, is here employed on panels of recycled glass of dimensions never previously used in Italy. It is characterised by its extremely polished nature, obtained by applying seven layers to a glass net, and by its self-cleaning reaction with atmospheric agents. The tempered glass which encloses the altar is composed of two layers, each of 12mm, separated by an cavity filled argon gas and provided with an ionic layer of a noble metal to filter the light rays.

The building’s technology, designed to obtain the ideal relationship between aesthetic effect, transparency, absorbance of sound, heat isolation and light filtration, pushes current technology to its limits. The internal microclimate is governed by a complex conditioning plant, which fulfils two essential requirements: to intrude as little as possible on the surrounding architecture and swiftly to readjust any worrying heat or humidity conditions. A series of nozzles create a curtain of air, which flows over the windows, preventing condensation from forming and stabilising the temperature. A dense polythene web underneath the floor can carry hot or cold water, when necessary, to create ideal climatic conditions. The large hall in which the Altar stands is additionally includes a sophisticated design which would allow the air to circulate with a raised level of filtering sufficient for crowds of twice the predicted levels.

Criticisms
The building has attracted conflicting opinions. The New York Times judged it a flop, while the famous art critic and polemicist Vittorio Sgarbi called it, “A Texas gas station in the very earth of one of the most important urban centres in the world”, and the first step towards an “internationalisation” of the city of Rome. Nonetheless, opinion was not unanimous at all and, for instance, Achille Bonito Oliva praised Meier’s design.

However, the judgment was by no means unanimous. The critic Achille Bonito Oliva for example showed appreciation for Meier’s project, and the Capitoline architect Antonino Saggio also expressed a positive opinion: “the opening of a construction site in the center of Rome represents an event for the city, now characterized by temporary interventions and a tendency towards museum display ».


Ara Pacis Augustae

The Ara Pacis Augustae or Altar of the Augustan Peace in Rome was built to celebrate the return of Augustus in 13 BCE from his campaigns in Spain and Gaul. The marble structure, which once stood on the Campus Martius, is a masterpiece of Roman sculpture and, in particular, of portraiture. Senators, officials and the Imperial family are depicted on the wall reliefs of the monument in an animated procession, perhaps, the very procession which consecrated the altar site on 4th July 13 BCE or the celebratory procession to welcome the emperor's return.

Voted for by the Senate in 13 BCE the monument was completed within four years using Italian Luna marble and dedicated on 30th January 9 BCE. The structure has a central altar set on a podium surrounded by high walls (11.6 x 10.6 m) composed of large rectangular slabs. There are two entrances, one on the east and the other on the west (back) side, the latter having a short flight of steps due to the lower ground elevation on that side in its original position.

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The 3 m tall altar itself stands on a 6 x 7 m podium and has relief scenes depicting Vestal Virgins, priests and sacrificial animals. The interior sculpture of the surrounding walls depicts fruit and flower garlands hanging from ox heads (bucrania) above fluting. The lower portion of the exterior walls has richly sculpted acanthus scrolls whilst the upper portions carry relief figures. The cornice of the surrounding wall is a modern addition and is, therefore, plain whereas the original cornice would have been highly decorative with palmettes at each corner. The whole structure, including the reliefs, would have been richly painted and have had touches of gilding.

On the east and west sides of the exterior walls are panels with mythological scenes including a version of the she-wolf nursing Romulus and Remus, Roma seated on a pile of armour flanked by Honos and Virtus, Aeneas sacrificing to the Penates and a female figure with two children who may be Pax, Venus Genetrix or Tellus (Mother Earth).

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The relief figures on the north and south exterior walls are arranged in two groups. On the south side are Augustus and the Imperial family. On the north side are officials such as magistrates, senators, priests and their families. All are captured in a single moment as they participate in a procession. Some figures are speaking to each other, one figure (possibly Augustus' sister) holds a finger to her lips and calls for silence whilst elsewhere some children look decidedly bored with one small child pulling the toga of an adult in order to be picked up. The animation and individuality of the figures is a high point of Roman sculpture and the relief is also graded to give the scene depth and a further reality.

Interestingly, although Augustus is present in the scene, the emperor is actually not so easy to pick out, which is in great contrast to later Imperial sculpture where the emperor of the time is very much the focal point of the monument. As Charles Wheeler stated, 'If we would understand the Augustan period - its quiet good manners and its undemonstrative confidence - in a single document, that document is the Ara Pacis Augustae.'

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The altar came to represent Pax (Peace), a concept particularly forwarded during the reign of Augustus and it was probably for this reason that the Ara Pacis appeared on the coins of Nero between 64 and 67 CE. Various pieces of the altar were re-discovered c. 1568, 1859 and 1903 CE and a more concerted excavation of the site was carried out between 1937 and 1938 CE. The hundreds of altar fragments, which had been dispersed across several European museums, were collected together and the altar reassembled. Largely complete, the altar now stands in the purpose built Museo dell'Ara Pacis, an elegant glass and stone structure next to the Mausoleum of Augustus in Rome.


Ara Pacis Museum: Tickets & Opening Hours

Among the main attractions in Rome, the Ara Pacis certainly stands out, kept inside the clear white, linear-shaped pavilion, designed by architect Richard Meier in 2006. Inside this contemporary museum, located between the Roman Hills and the Tiber River, just 10 minutes far from the Spanish Steps, there’s the Ara Pacis, an altar dedicated to the Roman Goddess of Peace.

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Attraction Overview

Opening Hours: from 9.30 am to 7.30 pm
Best Time To Visit: 9.30am or 6.00pm
Tickets: Needed
Accessibility: Accessible
Kid-friendly Attraction

How to Visit

1 PLAN YOUR VISIT IN ADVANCE

2 CHECK IN ADVANCE THE BEST TIME VISIT

Springtime and Summertime: 9.30am or 6.00pm
Fall and Wintertime: from 10.30am to 4.30pm

3 WEAR COMFORTABLE FOOTWEAR

Summertime: sneakers, sun cream and a hat
Wintertime: sneakers, umbrella and raincoat

OPENING HOURS

Closed
1 January, 1 May and 25 December

Note: Last admission 1 hour before closing time

Opening Hours

TICKETS INFO

Skip the line tickets to the Ara Pacis Museum can be bought online from the Official Website
http://ticket.museiincomuneroma.it/museo-dellara-pacis-museo/?lang=en

Note that Booking for individual visitors is available only when purchasing online tickets. By booking in advance you can skip the line at the ticket office by going directly to the ticket window.

INDIVIDUAL TICKETS

  • Full entrance: €10.50 + €1 Reservation Fee for online booking
  • Reduced ticket: €8.50 to all children under 6 years of age
ACCESSIBILITY

Wheelchair Accessibility Service:
The Ara Pacis Museum is accessible to people with disabilities.

Call Center:
+39 06.0608
Every day from 9.00am to 7.00pm

How to Reach

1 FROM THE CITY CENTER TO ARA PACIS

Bus Lines (Stop Tomacelli):
Bus Lines (Stop Augusto Imperatore/Ara Pacis):
Metro Station (Stop Spagna):

Address:
Via Lungotevere in Augusta (angolo via Tomacelli), – 00100 Rome, Italy
Get directions from Google Maps

Ara Pacis Museum

Ara Pacis Augustae, Significance & History

The first fragments of the Ara Pacis were brought to light in 1568. Most of them went dispersed during the years to several museums, such as Villa Medici, the Vatican Museums and the Uffizi in Florence. After further discoveries, in 1888 the German art historian Friedrich von Duhn came to the conclusion that the fragments were part of the Ara Pacis mentioned by Augustus himself in the “Res Gestae”, a funerary inscription in which Augustus gave his first- person record of his life and accomplishments. Read More…

Ara Pacis FAQ

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