On the Radar

Rome moderne

Erected in 13 B.C. to honor Emperor Augustus and excavated by Mussolini in 1937, the intricately carved Ara Pacis (Altar of Peace) has finally found a permanent home: the Museo dell'Ara Pacis, a gleaming glass structure by U.S. architect Richard Meier. His neo-modernist building protects the altar in a climate-controlled chamber and surrounds it with some 14,000 square feet of gallery space; a rooftop café overlooks Augustus' tomb. The museum hasn't exactly been celebrated—one prominent Italian pundit threatened to go on hunger strike if the project wasn't blocked—but it may yet become a masterpiece like the one it houses. Time will tell. At Piazza Augusto Imperatore; 39-06/8205-9127