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starchitecture tour

First start at Renzo Piano’s Auditorium-Parco Della Musica: Completed in 2002, the catchy tortoises-drinking-from-a-water- bowl structure is the oldest of the new.

Across the street is Zaha Hadid’s massive MAXXI (Museo Nazionale Delle Arti del XXI Secolo), which will open any minute now—it’s already three years late. Inside, twisty concrete walls reach 46 feet high.

Hail a taxi to MACRO (Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma), Rome’s most popular modern-art museum, just off Via Nomentana. It’s undergoing a face-lift: Check out the totally transformed main hall.

Hike west toward the Tiber and Richard Meier’s new Ara Pacis Museum, the first structure built in the centro storico in seven decades. The museum, which opens later this month, is a sleek glass-and-travertine hall a decade in the making and houses one lone artifact: the Altar of Peace, built for Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C.

Finish up at nearby Hotel Raphaël (39-06-682-831). Meier also designed its minimalist third floor, with rooms like miniature MoMAs.

Next: The Best Piazza for Picking Up a Roman

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