Some monuments of Rome are of indescribable beauty and the Pantheon is certainly one of them. Located in a square that suddenly opens up among the alleys of the historic center, here it stands in all its charm and splendor.
Before entering, for free, inside, you can opt for a break sitting in one of the many restaurants and bars on the square, or on the central fountain … if you can find a spot!
Its history is certainly long, we will see only a few highlights.
The Pantheon dates back to ancient Rome, originally built as a temple dedicated to all divinities. As we can read in the original inscription, the building was founded from in 27 BC. by Agrippa, son-in-law of Augustus.
The Latin inscription reads:
M•AGRIPPA•L•F•COS•TERTIVM•FECIT, that is: «Marcus Agrippa, Lucii filius, consul tertium fecit», “It was built by Marco Agrippa, son of Lucio, consul for the third time”
After being damaged by fires, it was rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian between 120 and 124 AD.
It is composed of a circular structure joined to a portico in Corinthian columns that support a pediment. The large circular cell, called rotunda, is surrounded by thick masonry walls and eight large pillars on which the weight of the characteristic hemispherical concrete dome is distributed, which houses at its apex a circular opening called oculus, which allows the illumination of the internal environment. The height of the building calculated at the oculus is equal to the diameter of the rotunda, a feature that reflects the classical criteria of balanced and harmonious architecture.
Almost two millennia after its construction, the dome of the Pantheon is still today one of the largest domes in the world, and specifically the largest built in Roman concrete.
A curiosity: the legend says that, despite the opening given by the oculus, no rain water enters the Pantheon. Could it be true? Well, at this point, come and find it out!
For other historical notes and useful information go to the official website.