The Ara Pacis in Medea was built soon after the end of the Second World War as a symbol of the sacrifice of the nation and to represent the hope of a world of peace, liberty and justice. Designed by the architect Mario Bacciocchi , it was dedicated in 1951. The classical altar itself, made of porphyry from Valcamonica, contains an urn holding earth taken from eight hundred war cemeteries, concentration camps and the like in both Italy and beyond. It also contains several water bottles from sites where military ships were sunk. The inscription on one face reads L’ODIO PRODUCE MORTE / L’AMORE GENERA VITA (Hate produces death, love generates life.) was meant to symbolically lead men towards peace and brotherhood without the need of resorting to the cruelty of war.
The altar stands within a 13 meter high enclosure of Roman travertine. At the narrow ends this is penetrated by a vertical opening; to north and south there are tall, severe colonnades – open the whole height between the square piers on one side, open only at a lower level on the other. The style could be described as stripped Classical, but the design – with the end piers gently canted outwards and rounded corners – is much more subtle than the typical public monuments of the 1930s.