Ara Pacis

Address: Lungotevere in Augusta, Rome, 00100, Italy
Telephone: 06 67106756

- Mid-range


An exquisite ancient altar in a striking contemporary setting.

Now resplendent in its new 'container' – a shell designed by American architect-superstar Richard Meier – this magnificent 1st-century-BC Altar of Peace was built to celebrate the victories of the Emperor Augustus during his campaigns in Spain and Gaul (France). In fact, the altar had been dismantled and lost for centuries before an international treasure hunt in the 1930s brought as many pieces as possible back to Rome, where it was reassembled in its current location overlooking the River Tiber on one side and Piazza Augusto Imperatore – with Augustus' round mausoleum at its centre – on the other.

A jigsaw it may be, but the altar, with its exquisite carvings of Augustus and his family, is quite lovely. The museum also contains interesting displays on the growth of the ancient city, plus shows on far more contemporary themes in its downstairs exhibition space.

Meier's shell around the altar replaced a smaller one built in the 1930s, and not everyone was happy with this intervention by a contemporary architect in the city's centro storico. Continuing protests mean that one of its most loathed features – the wall which separates the museum's front terrace from the river-side road, hiding two churches and the piazza behind – is due for demolition.

Value for money

Price advice

Gerneral admission is 8 euros and 6 euros for reductions.

Expert tips

Recommended for

  • Backpackers / Students
  • Culture vultures
  • Families with teenagers
  • Mature travellers
  • Seasoned travellers
  • Education