Of the many, many, many ancient structures in Rome, the one that spoke most profoundly to me was the Ara Pacis, built in 13 BC to mark Augustus (Octavia) bringing peace to Rome. A brief video about it can be viewed here.
Perhaps this is because it is a stunning white, starkly contrasted by the fading, dirty, still decaying, dark ruins that fill the rest of the city. Or perhaps it was because the Ara Pacis was, until relatively recently, lost and forgotten. It was reassembled and reconstructed from pieces scattered around the world- a fascinating tale itself – and visitors can see what it was originally. Perhaps I loved seeing the Ara Pacis because, unlike anything else of interest in Rome, there were no crowds, and we could spend time with it in quiet contemplation.
Richard Meyer’s modern structure built to protect the Ara Pacis gives it a brilliant Modernist framing, creating dappled light and context, and was one of my favorite structures near our apartment, even before I knew what was in it.