The Pantheon was designed by emperor Hadrian in AD 118-125. It was built as a temple to "all the gods".
The beauty & scale of this magnificent building are best appreciated from the inside. The rotunda's height & diameter are equal; 43.3 m (142 ft). The oculus, the hole at the top of the dome, provides the only light. Its diameter is 9 m (30 ft). The marble floor is the original Roman design. Around the walls are shrines to Raphael & former Italian kings.
The building is free to enter & is open daily except 1 Jan, 1 May & 25 Dec.
The most magnificent of standing Roman buildings in Rome and the world, il Panteone di Roma continues to dazzle to this day. The existing round structure was built as a Roman temple to all the gods by Emperor Hadrian in 125 AD. It replaced a previous temple, which had been built by Agrippa in 27 AD, but destroyed by fire around 110 AD. The Pantheon owes its remarkable state of preservation to its conversion into a church after Christianity swept the Roman Empire. The amazing interior is lit naturally by an open hole in the center of the dome, the world's largest until the 15th century Duomo in Florence was built. Original Roman-period marble decorations in the interior were stripped to be used in the construction of Saint Peter's Basilica, but newer ones were added in a later period.
IT IS! The Pantheon is fantastic building (my favourite in Rome) started out life as a Temple around the year 120. It is a Great domed hall with an ‘Oculus’. Guess that’s a fancy name for a hole in the middle of the roof. Yes, it has a fantastic drain system as rain does come straight in. So does sunshine. Do not leave Rome without visiting!
This was built by Emperor Hadrian from AD118-28. It was built as a temple and then used as a church for the early Christians.
It is a massive place and is an engineering marvel. It has one of the world’s largest domes.
Step inside to see the intentional hole in the ceiling from where the sun shines in or rain pours in.
This is the best preserved temple in Rome. It was built in 126 by Hadrian on the site of an older building originally built in 80 AD. Its original function was a temple to the most important of Roman Gods. Its great domed roof was a masterpiece of roman architecture. It was converted into a church in the 7th century, and retains that purpose to this day. Several artistic additions were added in later centuries.
The Pantheon is thought to have been originally been built in honor of the seven Roman gods that lent their names to the first known planets. Located in the Piazza della Rotonda, Roman legend says this is the spot where, upon his death, Rome's founder, Romulus, was taken to the Gods by eagles. The structure was built between 27 and 25 BC by Consul Agrippa, the Prefect of the Emperor Augustus. After a fire destroyed the temple, Domitian rebuilt the Pantheon in 80 AD. Pantheon, which is Greek for "everything divine" or more commonly "Temple of All Gods" was turned into a church by Pope Boniface IV in 609 AD, giving it the name "Santa Maria ad Martyres". The original monuments to the Roman gods are long gone, now replaced by the tombs of seven prominent Italian figures. Kings Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I, his queen, Margherita, painters Raphael and Annibale, composer Archangelo Corelli and architect Baldassare Peruzzi. The Pantheon is open Monday-Saturday from 8:30-19:30, Sundays 9:00-18:00 and Holidays 9:00-13:00. Masses are held Saturdays at 17:00 and Sundays at 10:30. Admission is free. One of the most historic buildings on Earth and a must see when visiting the Eternal City.
“My intentions had been that this sanctuary of All Gods should reproduce the likeness of the terrestrial globe and of the stellar sphere.”
— Emperor Hadrian (AD 76-AD 138) his thoughts on the Pantheon
The main attraction in the Piazza della Rotonda is the Pantheon, from the Greek for ‘all the gods.’ It is our favorite building in the world.
Originally, the Pantheon was built in 25 BC by Marcus Agrippa, a Roman statesman and general. This building was destroyed by fire in AD 80. The bricks used by Emperor Hadrian to rebuild it are stamped with a date corresponding to AD 125. Hadrian paid tribute to Agrippa by having the latter’s named chiseled on the pediment of the portico (see photo #4).
The first Christian emperors closed the Pantheon, along with all other places of pagan worship, in the fourth century AD. In AD 609 the Byzantine Emperor Phocas gave the building to Pope Boniface IV, who consecrated it as the Church of Mary the Virgin and all the Martyr Saints. Because this antique pagan temple was turned into a Christian one explains why it is the most intact building to come down to us from the Ancient Romans.
“Here lays Raphael, by whom the mother of all things (Nature) feared to be overcome whilst he was living, and whilst he was dying, herself to die.”
— Raphael’s epigraph, written by Pietro Cardinal Bembo (1470-1547)
Since the Renaissance the Pantheon has served as a national necropolis. Among those buried there are the artists Raphael and Annibale Caracci, the architect Baldassare Peruzzi and the first two kings of a united Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I, as well as Umberto’s queen, Margherita.
The first to be buried there was Raphael (6.April.1483-6.April.1520), who rests in a sarcophagus (see photo #1) donated by Pope Gregory XVI. On 14.September.1833 the tomb was opened to inspect the moldering skeleton, of which drawings were made. Raphael’s tomb is the third chapel on the left.
The second chapel on the right holds the tomb of Padre della Patria (Father of the Nation), King Vittorio Emanuele II, who died in 1878 (see photo #2). The chapel was originally dedicated to the Holy Spirit.
Directly opposite his father is the tomb of King Umberto I and his wife Margherita di Savoia (see photo #3). The chapel was originally dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel. The royal tombs are maintained by the National Institute of Honor Guards to the Royal Tombs, founded in 1878.
In the second century AD, during the Age of the Antonine Emperors, which included Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius, colored marbles were favored over the traditional white. In the Pantheon the seven niches, where the gods were worshipped, were marked by two large columns made of Numidian yellow marble, or of pavonazzetto, a breccia coming from Phrygia in modern-day Turkey. Breccia is a rock consisting of fragments of stone, such as marble or limestones, within a natural cement of a contrasting color. The veins of pavonazzetto had so many different colors that they brought to mind peacock feathers, hence this stone’s name, pavone is Latin for peacock.
The Pantheon is definitely a place you should visit when in Rome. Entrance is free and the building has enough to offer to the hungry tourist eye :)
There are several tombs set inside the walls of The Pantheon. I really liked Raphael's tomb (on the left side as you enter the building). The tomb of Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of the unified Italy, is also here. You can also see the tomb of his successor, Umberto I and his wife, princess Margherita.
In the piazza outside The Pantheon there is a very nice fountain topped by an Egyptian obelisk. The base of the fountain and the obelisk were built by the orders of Pope Clement XI.
The original Pantheon was a temple dedicated to all the gods (pan=all, theos=gods). It was built in 27 BC by Marcus Agrippa (Augustus' son-in-law), but the building was destroyed by a big fire in 80 AD.
The Pantheon that we all see today is the structure that emperor Hadrian rebuilt in 120 AD. It is the oldest standing dome structure in Rome. Light and rain comes through the oculus of the building. The floor has few wholes in it that allow the water from the rain to pass through them and to keep the floor dry.
The building served as a Christian church for a while and since the Renaissance it has been used as a tomb. The building still has its original bronze doors. Inside, you can find the tombs of the painters Raphael and Annibale Carracci, the composer Arcangelo Corelli, the architect Baldassare Peruzzi, and also two kings of Italy: Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I, as well as Umberto's Queen, Margherita.
Not much I need to say about the Pantheon. Don't miss it!
While we were there there was a Nativity Scene inside (week after Christmas). It was cloudy during our Pantheon visit, but it would have been fun to be there during rain in order to see it coming through the hole in the roof.
Probably the most important thing is to try and hit a few other sights around it while you are in the neighborhood. Taverna Le Coppelle is nearby for a fantastic and cheap lunch or dinner (see my restaurant tips). There are also a few fantastic churches nearby to see (our favorite was Santa Maria Sopra Minerva).
After the Pantheon we wandered through some of the winding, small streets, window shopping our way to the Trevi Fountain.
Other than our visit of the Pantheon during the day, we also wandered back through a couple times at night, which is another beautiful time to see it from the outside.
It is free to go inside. Don't waste your money on the audio guide.
We visited the Pantheon twice during our trip- it was a structure that had to be seen a couple of times to be able to digest just how incredible and immense it really is. Just standing at the granite columns and huge entry doors is a humbling experience. The Pantheon is the best preserved building among Rome's ancient buildings, being almost 2,000 years old.
“Think now about all those other perils
Of the night: how high it is to the roof up there
From which a tile falls and smashes your brains;
How many times broken, leaky jars
Fall from windows; how hard they strike and break
The pavement. You could be thought lazy and careless
If you go to dinner without writing a will.
There are as many deaths waiting for you
As there are open windows above your head.
Therefore you should hope and fervently pray
That they only dump their sewage on you.”
from “On the City of Rome” by Decimus Junius Juvenalis (the late 1 st and early 2nd Centuries AD
Rome at night is far more safe in the 21st century than it was 2,000 years ago.
Take advantage of it! Go for a walk. Rome is a great city for walking; its centro storico is roughly a square mile. That is not big at all, but you will be a bigger person for it once you have seen Rome by night. And a smaller person too, having walked off that pasta dinner!
Revisit what you saw during the day, in a different light, the lights of a Roman night. The monuments, palazzi, piazzi, churches, and streets are aglow. The shadows cast by electric lights create dimensions to otherwise familiar sights that can not be imagined during the day. These sights are also far less crowded, giving you an opportunity to see them a little better.
And it is much cooler at night, if you are visiting in the heat of summer.
This is a building that was origionally built a few years before the birth of Christ.
It is an inspiring building to see and visit. Many artists are buried here.
The centre of the dome is an opening 9 meters wide and apparently the sole source of light.
The use of the marble inside is a revelation.
Its not a good building to take photo's in as I don't like using flash in these places, people who do annoy me, & I don't like annoying others that way
Rome is full of places you must see,before you can home and say,that you´ve been here.We rented a flat next to Pantheon,so we saw it many times a day at every 10 days.They say,you should eally see it when its raining from the hole in the roof,but we had heat all the time.witch suited us very well,but we didn´t see that rain-efect.