Museo dell’Ara Pacis in Rome has two distinctively different purposes: the first is housing the Ara Pacis of Augustus, and the second is that of space for temporary exhibitions.
The Ara Pacis Augustae is an altar dedicated to Pax, the Roman goddess of peace. The monument was commissioned by the Roman Senate in 13 BC to honor the return of Augustus to Rome after a peace mission of three years in Spain and Gaul. The altar is richly decorated with figures made from the best white Carrara marble.
Even though the first parts of the Ara Pacis were found as early as 1568, the official excavations only began in 1903 and were completed in 1938. The fascist regime of Mussolini then built a glass hall to house the reconstructed altar.
In 2006, the new museum building was opened, designed American architect Richard Meier. It is made of glass, steel and travertine, and one of the few modern buildings in the center of Rome. Next to the Ara Pacis, the museum also houses temporary exhibitions, mostly on modern and contemporary art.