on November 26, 2012
The Pantheon is one of the oldest Christian churches in Rome and was a pagan temple before that. It's still a church now and has been since the 7th century. It's one of the best preserved buildings from ancient Rome as well. It was built as a temple in early C.E. It was rebuilt after a fire, burned down and rebuilt again by Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century C.E. The dimensions of it are beautifully perfect, as high in the middle as the diameter of the dome. Though the interior has been redesigned over time, the marble floors still date from ancient Rome. The church itself is circular as well with a portico outside lined with columns.There are a few famous tombs there. The big attraction is the stone dome, a real architectural wonder for the day. There's a hole in the centre of the dome, an oculus it's called, for light and there are drainage holes underneath it for rainwater. The piazza outside has an 18th century with an obelisk and fountain in the centre and is lined with restaurants. It's very popular and another busy spot, even without the tourists. The other hotel I was going to choose is actually on this square but I think I'm quite happy we stayed elsewhere as I think it would have been noisy. The Pantheon is one of my favourite places in Rome. It's elegant, the marble floors are beautiful, the artwork is exquisite. The only jarring bit is the announcments to ask people to be quiet and respect the space as a church. The loud announcements seem to contradict the message. Outside, the piazza is usually hopping with tourists. There are restaurants and gelateria in the area as well as a post office. The narrow cobbled streets around it wind around the buildings so that you enter the piazza a bit by surprise, to see the domed building in front of you. The Pantheon is free to enter. There is one low step to get up into the portico but aside from that should be accessible to all.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009