Ara Pacis Museum

Ara Pacis Museum (interior)Last weekend I finally paid a visit to the Ara Pacis Museum.  This little museum has been derided by Italians and the mayor of Rome, but, honestly, it’s not such a bad little museum.  I had been avoiding visiting it for so long, yet I always pass by it and decided last weekend that it was time to go inside!

The top floor of the museum houses the Ara Pacis or the Altar of Augustan Peace.  This piece of marble “propaganda” has an interesting history not just in ancient times but also in modern times, as well.  The sculptural relief that surrounds the structure is ripe with symoblism and propaganda, and you can certainly learn more about it by visiting the museum.  The museum is well laid-out with interactive exhibits explaining the monument’s iconography and history.  You can even enter the altar and have a look inside it, too, to see some of the amazing sculptural work (especially of the flora) done throughout.

The museum also has a nice little bookshop just before you exit.

The bicycle from the movie, "The Bicycle Thief"The ground floor of the museum (under the altar) is also an exposition space.  Currently, there’s an exposition of material from the life and work of Vittorio de Sica, entitled “Tutti De Sica,” on display until April 28th.  There are clips from many of his films, letters, photographs and other film memorabilia!  It’s definitely worth seeing (especially the bicycle used in the film that you can see pictured here to your left).

The museum is easily reached by metro on Linea A — simply take Linea A to Flaminio and walk down Via di Ripetta, and the museum, which you can’t miss, will be on your right.  Take note — on your left is the Mausoleum of Augustus!  Stop by Bar 99 for a cappuccino and cornetto at the start of Via di Ripetta as you make your way down.   If you’re in the area for lunch, check out Gusto which is right around the corner!