Results 11-20of 31 Reviews
July 23, 2007
From journal When in Rome...
May 22, 2007
From journal A Week in Rome to Wine, Dine, and Tour
New Delhi, India
September 30, 2006
The Pantheon is old. Really, really old. Originally a temple to the seven deities of ancient Rome, it was built in about 27 BC by Marcus Agrippa (who, not a modest man, had this achievement etched in large letters across the front of the building, above the portico). Agrippa’s temple survived only till about 80 AD, when it was completely destroyed by fire. In 125 AD, however, the Emperor Hadrian got the monument rebuilt- even going so far in his magnanimity as to get Marcus Agrippa’s pompous inscription etched on it.
Although it’s suffered the ravages of time (and man- marble and bronze were torn off the building to be used elsewhere), Hadrian’s structure is the Pantheon one sees today. In the early years of the 7th century, the Pantheon was gifted by the Byzantine emperor Phocas to the Pope, who consecrated it and made it the church of St Mary and all the Martyr Saints.
We arrived at the Pantheon shortly before sunset and found it brimming with tourists. We spent some time admiring the awesome granite columns of the portico, the obelisk that stands in the piazza outside, and the flattish concrete dome (it was once covered with bronze plates) of the building. By the time we finished, much of the crowd had gone, so in we went, through massive bronze doors that were originally goldplated.
Outside, the Pantheon looks like a typical Roman temple; inside, the ancient Roman style is tinged with touches of the Renaissance. We sat for a while on the chairs that line the walls, and looked around. The circular interior is largely a blend of dark marble, predominantly red, green and brown. Niches along the walls hold Biblical statues, many of them carved by famous Italian sculptors. The tomb of Raphael, for instance, is surmounted by a Madonna carved by one of Raphael’s students.
But most arresting of all is the oculus- the `Great Eye’ of the Pantheon. The oculus is a large circular opening that pierces the centre of the dome, and lets in sunlight (and rain!). We watched the last rays of the setting sun streaming in through the oculus, forming an elongated sphere of light on the floor. We admired the statuary in the niches, marvelled at the sombre beauty of the place, and then, when it got too dark, reluctantly took ourselves off.
Entry to the Pantheon is free. Try to time your visit for when the sun’s high in the sky, so you get the full effect of the oculus. And since this is a church, keep your shoulders and knees covered.
From journal Renaissance Rome
New Jersey, New Jersey
September 16, 2005
The entrance is through huge bronze doors, and the interior is a circular room with Catholic alters and artifacts. The dome has a span of 43.2 m (142 feet).
One of the fascinating architectural aspects of it is the "oculus", a circular hole in the ceiling which allows in rain and sunlight.
It is open from 8:30am to 7:30pm. Admission is free.
Right outside the Pantheon is the Piazza della Rotonda, a lively square filled with cafes, bars, and restaurants. It is especially lively in the summer, when the Pantheon is lit from below and stands as an enormous reminder of the grandeur of ancient Rome.
From journal Honeymoon in Italy
NY, New York
July 25, 2005
Piazza della Rotonda
From journal Simply Italy
July 8, 2005
From journal Italia
April 27, 2005
Even though this is one of the best-preserved pieces of Roman architecture, don't forget it's still a functioning Catholic church, with regular services, so be aware that it's not always open for tourists. It's often crowded on the weekends, so I'd recommend visiting during the week.
From journal Italian Holiday - Rome
April 5, 2005
From journal Weekend Getaway in Rome
March 14, 2005
From journal Viva Roma! Summer 2004
October 14, 2004
When Olympian worship effectively ended, the Pantheon essentially stood idle for a couple hundred years, before being used as a church again. Indeed this pagan building has been a Christian (Catholic) church for most of its history.
It's also famous in the history of the Renaissance because builders of two famous, domes, Brunelleschi (who built the dome in the Duomo in Florence) and Michelangelo (who designed the dome of St. Peters in the Vatican City) both studied the dome.
And the dome is indeed the overwhelming feature of the place, large, strangely graceful despite being made of essentially ancient concrete, it rises large and far above you. We were there in mid afternoon, and light streamed through the dome down into the building itself. It is open to the world and yes, when it rains, it just rains in.
Columns remain from the original construction, in remarkably good condition (the entire place is in incredible condition for a building that is close to 1900 years old). Most of the interior decoration, particularly sculpture, is Christian in nature, although you can see where the statues of the Olympian Gods would have been.
When we visited they were saying mass. This does not preclude visiting, though it limits where you can walk significantly. One needs to remember that this is indeed a church. As we were visiting as pilgrims, it did feel a little intrusive to enter as viewers, but while we were in there an unseen choir burst into a beautiful rendition of Mozart's "Ave Verum Corpus" which resonated off the stone and the dome and filled the place with great spiritual beauty. With the sunlight filtering through the ceiling, the candles flickering soundlessly and the heavenly statuses around us, it felt like a true moment of worship.
From journal Roman Pilgrimage