The Pantheon

By Philippa Burne, UK, March 2012

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One of my all time favorite buildings in Rome is the Pantheon.  It’s not huge, it’s not flashy or complicated, it’s basically just one big round room, but there is something about it that I find really special. Perhaps it’s the Pantheon’s age and history. Built around AD125 by the emperor Hadrian, it’s been standing here ever since, watching Rome act out its dramatic and beautiful life. I love the fact that the Pantheon is such a feat of engineering. Its dome is still the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world – and it was built two millennia ago! Until 1436 when the Florence Duomo was built, the Pantheon was the largest dome in the world. And in the middle of the dome is a hole – the oculus. The oculus provides all the light coming into the building, so you get this wonderful atmosphere inside.

There are no seats, it is just a big round space to wander around, from tombs to chapels on the curving walls. The floor is still the original Roman marble floor. I’m sure you’re not meant to, but I took off my shoes and felt the cool, ancient stone beneath my feet as I wandered. The Pantheon was built as a pagan temple to all gods, but was converted into a church in AD609....

Editor’s Note: This recommendation was taken from our Rome Things to Do blog. Visit the original post to continue reading the full post and to learn more about things to do in Rome.

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