The Pantheon is a historic temple of ancient Rome. Constructed by Emperor Hadrian between 113 and 125 AD, it sits on the site of a temple that is even older, from the time of Augustus. Now, it is the best-preserved ancient Roman monument. See the dome and Renaissance tombs here, including the one of Raphael. It is a masterpiece of architecture. This circular building has the same height and diameter – 43.5 meters. It has a dome that is bigger than the one at St. Peter’s Basilica. There is a 9-meter diameter at the top, which opens to let in natural light. This illuminates the building.
Very close to Piazza Navona, the Pantheon is still a remarkable structure, even after almost 2000 years. It is a must-see in Rome. You will love its huge proportions, design, harmony, and elegance. In fact, when Michelangelo saw this building, he is said to have remarked that the Pantheon was constructed by angels, and not by humans.
The Pantheon has seen many barbarian raids that shattered many Roman monuments. One reason why it survived was because it was turned into a church in 609 AD. The structure itself also prevented destruction. In fact, the exact composition of the material is still unknown. It appears to be structurally similar to modern-day concrete!
Pantheon – Quick Facts
|Pantheon||Temple in ancient Rome built between 113 and 125 AD.|
|Why was it built||To honor the Gods of Pagan Rome. Pantheon is a Greek adjective, which means ‘honor all Gods’.|
|Size||It has the same height and diameter – 43.5 meters.|
|The Dome||9-meter diameter at top. Bigger than the St. Peter’s Basilica dome.|
|The Original Temple||Pantheon sits at the site of an earlier temple, which was constructed by Agrippa in 27 BC.|
|What to see||See the dome, an archeological masterpiece, the tombs, artwork, spend time at the Piazza della Rotonda.|
The Pantheon’s dome remained the world’s largest for 1300 years. To this day, it is the world’s largest unsupported dome.
The building is very impressive, but the dome is always the highlight. It is huge with a 9-meter diameter at the top, which opens to let in natural light. It looks surreal when you are inside the Pantheon and looks up to see the sunlight coming in through the hole. The dome’s diameter is 142 feet or 43.30 meters. It has the perfect proportion with the overall structure.
Pantheon – The Outside
There are 16 granite columns in the facade. Each column has a height of 11.8 meters. You can see the inscription ‘M.AGRIPPA.L.F.COS.TERTIVM.FECIT’, meaning ‘Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, built this temple when he was a Consul. The Corinthian columns each weigh 60 tons. They were brought from Egypt. Click this link for more information on the history of the Pantheon.
See the many tombs of Italian kinds inside the Pantheon. The most important person buried here is Raphael, who was a famous architect and painter from the days of the Renaissance. You will also see many artworks.
Piazza della Rotonda
This is a city square just outside the Pantheon. There used to be many sheds and shops here. It was a bird market in the 19th century where fruits, vegetables, and flowers were also sold. Napoleon asked all buildings in the area to be demolished, but that order was never implemented.
This is now a busy place full of people, taking pictures of the imposing Pantheon or eating a meal at one of the terraces. There are many performing street artists. You will see the Santa Maria Rotonda church. The square gets its name from this church.
There is a beautiful fountain in front of the Pantheon – Fontana del Pantheon. It was designed by the famous architect Giacomo Della Porta in 1575. Leonardo Sormani sculpted it from marble. The obelisk of Ramses II was set at the center on dolphins decorating its base. The obelisk was brought from the Temple of Ra in Heliopolis.