Rome's New Mayor Vows to Raze Renowned Museum

'Post-Fascist' Alemanno wants to destroy Meier building
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2008 12:22 PM CDT
The Ara Pacis museum in Rome. The Italian capital's new rightwing mayor has threatened to destroy the Richard Meier building.   ((c) teandkb)
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(Newser) – Only a few days into his mandate, Rome's new right-wing mayor has sworn to dismantle a state-of-the-art museum designed by American architect Richard Meier, reports the Times of London. Gianni Alemanno called the Ara Pacis museum, built 2 years ago to house a peace altar from the Augustan period, "invasive" and "a disfigurement in the heart of Rome," prompting protests from the city's cultural elite and the architect himself.

Meier, whose works include the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, said he was stunned by the new mayor's announcement and would fly to Rome to meet with him. Alemanno, who swept into Rome's city hall on a "post-Fascist" ticket, has wasted no time in dismantling the Italian capital's cultural program. He has already announced plans to overhaul or cancel the Rome Film Festival.