Many buildings from ancient times are now partly or completely in ruins. One of the major buildings of ancient times in Rome, however, is still largely intact, and can be found in the middle of modern-day Rome. I approached the building from "behind", where I was able to appreciate the height of the building. From that side, it is possible to directly see the top of the Pantheon, which is not possible from the frontside. While walking around the building, I noticed how few visitors could be found here. This changed as soon as I reached the aptly called Piazza della Rotonda.
Here, I found many bars and restaurants sprawling over the square, full with tourists. The view is perfect, and moreover, the sun shines right on the square. I decided to go right inside the building. The entrance is monumental, with eight high columns supporting the roof above, but the main building, the cupola of the Pantheon itself, is largely obscured from the viewer on the square. Once inside, the immensity of the building becomes clear. You can only admire emperor Hadrian's architects who designed this building, without any pillars to support it - they managed to construct a building that still stands after almost 2000 years! The dome is self-supporting and an example for many architects after Hadrian's time.
I decided to take a seat and just look up. The diameter is exactly equal to the height (43 metres), which means that the ceiling is high above you. An enormous opening in the middle of the ceiling (oculus) allows a beam of sunlight to travel across the ceiling during the day. According to ancient writers, the coffers in the ceiling were once richly decorated, but this has all disappeared. While the building was originally constructed as a house of all the ancient gods, it was consacrated as a Catholic building in the 7th century. It now houses the graves of two Italian kings, as well as the famous artist Raphael.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Pantheon (Italy). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Pantheon.
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