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Pantheon in Rome

The Pantheon in Rome

In the heart of Rome the Pantheon is a magnificent building which reminds tourists of the great Roman Empire. In time it has survived plunders, pillages, invasions, and popes. Once it was a pagan temple devoted to gods and goddesses. It was the largest dome in ancient Rome and at the top has a large majestic opening, the oculus, which is the only source of light inside. The Pantheon contains the tomb of Raphael and some Italian kings. Let’s consider its history and main characteristics.

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The Pantheon: History
Pantheon is a Greek word meaning "to honor all Gods" and originally it was a rectangular temple built by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, as part of a district renewal plan in 27-25 BC, dedicated to the gods Mars and Venus. Hadrian rebuilt the structure between 118 and 125 AD. The portico in front of the Pantheon is what remains of Agrippa's original temple.
In 609 the Byzantine emperor Phocas gave the structure to pope Bonifiacio IV who converted it into a Christian church consecrated to Santa Maria dei Martiri. During the early medieval period much fine external marble has been removed and there are capitals from some of the pilasters kept in the British Museum. Architects like Brunelleschi were inspired by this Roman structure. During the Renaissance the Pantheon was destined to contain the graves of some famous Italian painters such as Raphael, Annibale Carracci and Baldassare Peruzzi.

The Pantheon: Description
The Pantheon borders Piazza della Rotonda, a rectangular square with a central fountain and a central Egyptian obelisk. The impressive dome is more than 43 meters high. It was the largest dome in the ancient Roman Empire and at the top has a large majestic opening, the oculus, which was the only source of light and conveys a surprising scenographic effect. The front portico has three rows of 8 columns weighing 60 tons coming from Egypt. A huge bronze door gives access to the cylindrical building. The Pantheon dome was to be built out of light concrete made out of pumice stone. The dome was to be covered in coffers. These coffers would reduce the weight of the dome. The Pantheon's huge dome is a perfect hemisphere of cast concrete placed on a solid ring wall. Inside the main altar of the church keeps an original VII century icon of the Madonna and Child. The apse is decorated with a golden mosaic featuring crosses. The niche just to the right of the entrance contains a fresco of the Annunciation by Melozzo da Forli (15th century).

The Pantheon: How to Arrive
The Pantheon is in Piazza della Rotonda. You can arrive here by the Rome Metro, Piazza Barberini stop (Line A).
By bus, you could take n° 30, 40, 62, 64, 81, 87 e 492: you should stop is in Largo di Torre Argentina, then a 400 meter walk.

The Pantheon: Accommodation
For some advice on where to stay near the Pantheon ècheck out our Central Hotel in Rome guide.

The Pantheon: What to Visit
Don't miss Piazza Navona and the Spanish Steps.

The Pantheon: Opening Times
You can visit the Pantheon on weekdays from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm and on holidays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

More and different things to come on The Pantheon in Rome.


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