Results 1-10of 31 Reviews
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
November 26, 2012
From journal Visiting Italy: Roma
Grimsby, England, United Kingdom
July 5, 2012
From journal Rome pt.2
Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
November 30, 2010
From journal Going to Rome
March 3, 2010
Belfast, United Kingdom
March 24, 2009
From journal Rome - THE Cultural Capital
January 19, 2009
From journal Six Days in Eternity
Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
August 1, 2007
From journal Glimpsing Rome
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 York, New York
July 2, 2004
Most tourists tend to bypass the exterior of the Pantheon and rush right in to be dazzled by the spectacular dome. True, the outside of the building doesn’t hold quite the mystique and splendor found within, but a little study of it is necessary to appreciate this fine gem of the Ancient World. When facing the portico, visitors may notice a bit of a wall behind the triangular pediment. This is not a structural support or decorative feature of any kind, but rather an everlasting reminder of a wee mistake made in the measuring department. That pediment was actually supposed to grace the top of this wall, but when the columns arrived from the contractor, they were much shorter than requested. Hmmm, perhaps those responsible were thrown to the lions? From the portico, tourists should walk around the side of the building towards the "drum" which supports the dome. These walls are 19 feet thick and reinforced with hidden pillars and weight relieving arches. Visitors will find these embedded brick arches towards the top of the drum, above the little windows.
Upon entering through the ancient bronze door, tourists seemingly step into the past. In constant use since it’s construction, the Pantheon is Rome’s most well preserved ancient site. It’s not at all hard to imagine what this place must have been like in ancient times. The only real changes made since those days are the saint statues that now grace the niches where pagan gods once stood and a few tombs of famous people.
The dome of the Pantheon, the largest created up until the Renaissance, sits atop its circular pedestal like a great eye focused on the heavens. It is equal in height as well as diameter (140 feet) with an oculus spanning about 30 feet across. The dome was cast by pouring concrete mixed with different types of volcanic rock over a temporary wooden framework. As a result, the dome gets lighter and thinner towards the top. The hollow, decorative squares incorporated into the design also help to reduce the weight significantly. Perhaps the most architecturally influential building in all the world, this site has played a large role in the inspiration and design of many famous landmarks. Buildings like the Florence cathedral, Saint Peter’s, the US Capitol and even Arlington Cemetery all share definite characteristics first created here.
No admission fee is charged for the Pantheon and it’s open Monday through Saturday from 8:30am to 7:30pm and again on Sunday from 9am to 6pm. Remember, this site is now considered a church, so "modest dress" is required.
From journal Rome: A Lifetime Is Not Enough
St. Louis, Missouri
August 10, 2007
From journal First Time to Italy