Today was our last day in Rome, we will be leaving in the morning for our few days in Amsterdam and then back home. It’s been an amazing trip and I hope some readers have enjoyed traveling along with us.
We had another slow morning and took some time just to figure out what we wanted to see here that we had not yet seen. We went out for coffee and decided to go see some modern art since everything we had seen was some form of ancient. We took the bus up towards the area where we were yesterday by the Spanish steps and we got to what we thought was the modern art museum. At least that’s what it looked like…..
After we went in and paid, turns out this is an entire museum dedicated to one of Rome’s most ancient sites, the Ara Pacis, an ancient altar commissioned by the Roman Senate to honor the return of Augustus to Rome after several years in Hispanic and Gaul. It is dedicated to Pax, the Roman Goddess of Peace. It was consecrated in 9 B.C. (and we thought we were going to see modern art!)
The altar was gradually flooded by the Tiber over many years and eventually sunk down about 13 feet and was forgotten for millennia before being re-discovered and then reassembled in its current location in 1938. The modern building that now surrounds it was designed by an American architect Richard Meier. There is still consternation in Rome over the buildings design and they are still proposing modifications to it even though it has now been in place since 2007. It is the first new structure built in this area since WW2, so it is a shock to the Roman’s systems, I think.
This turned out to be a happy accident because it is an interesting building and the altar itself is beautiful and very historically significant.
This is the structure. Animal sacrifices were made on the table inside.
Some detail from the exterior. The figures on the top were largely members of Augustus’ family and some others important in the Roman government.
Detail from an outside panel. The woman is speculated to be a Goddess of Fertility or a symbol of Mother Earth. The model is perhaps based on Augustus’ wife.
After viewing the altar, we walked around the area some more and after our final lunch of mushroom pizza (and tiramisu for Jack), we walked to the tram to go back to the apartment.
For our last dinner in Rome, we had intended to try a restaurant recommended by the friend of a friend who is living here in Rome, but we found out that they are closed on Tuesdays, so we didn’t get to try it! 😦 We ended up at a fish market restaurant, which was pretty good although not quite what we were thinking of for our last night in Rome.
This is the swordfish Sicilian style that I ordered. It was quite good. Jack got salmon and enjoy his as well.
A bit sad to leave Rome, but we have seen just about everything that we wanted to and so we leave happy. Also, my feet will not be missing walking all day on these stones!