The Pantheon in the Italian capital is the oldest intact building in the city, which has received quite a few relics from ancient times. In its current configuration, the Pantheon was built in the second century A.D. (in 125) and has been amazingly preserved to this day.
Pantheons were constructed in ancient times in several cities across the continent, mainly for the burial needs of distinguished personalities. The meaning of the word is “all the gods” (in Greek, all=pan, gods=theos).
The Roman Pantheon has always been the beating heart of the old city and one of the symbols of the Roman Empire. Today it is a central and significant tourist center in Rome and Italy.
A bit of history: Until the 20th century, Rome’s Pantheon was considered the largest concrete structure in the world. Legend has it that the famous artist Michelangelo studied the structure of his dome in detail before designing that of the famous St. Peter’s Basilica.
Before the construction of the Pantheon that exists today, there were two different buildings, both utterly destroyed in the fires that broke out in the city. The first and original building was built in B.C., during the time of the first Roman ruler, Augustus.
The third Pantheon, the one we see today, was built during Hadrian’s reign over 7 years. During antiquity and the Middle Ages, the Pantheon was a burial place for Italian historical figures, such as the painter Raphael.
Since the seventh century, the Pantheon began to be used as a church open to the general public. Over the years, the church has become a top tourist destination and a favorite wedding site.
What to see
the impressive circular structure rises to a height of 43 meters. The first thing you notice from the outside is the building’s beautifully designed and transformed dome. In the center of the crown is a rounded window called “The Eye of the Pantheon” (The Oculus).
The round space is the only light source of the interior space. It allows a glimpse of the sky and a rainwater entry hole. In addition, carved into the inner walls, you can find the ancient and decorated tombs of some of the nation’s greats, kings, and craftsmen. Pay attention to the spectacular marble flooring of the Pantheon, designed in particular patterns.
Code of conduct
As a religious place, rules of conduct must be followed when visiting. Wandering inside the building, you will see many signs asking you to keep the peace in the business. If you do not obey them, the site employees will make sure to wake you up. Taking pictures is allowed and even desirable, but make sure you turn off the flash on the camera before.
When to visit
The Pantheon is open to visitors every day of the week. Opening hours are 9:00-19:15 Monday to Saturday and Sundays 9:00-17:45. On public holidays, the place closes early, around 1:00 p.m.
It is recommended to check before you arrive, because sometimes it is entirely closed, for example in favor of national holidays and mass ceremonies. The ideal time to visit the Pantheon is in the evening, so you can also combine a romantic dinner in one of the high-quality restaurants in the area.
Unlike many tourist sites in the city, you are unlikely to encounter long queues, as the entrance is completely free. There are no security checks or the need to purchase a ticket at the entrance.
The Pantheon is not very big and you can finish the visit in a few minutes. To make the most of the experience, you should consider hiring an audio guide to accompany you on a tour of the place. At the entrance to the building, there is a stand that will sell you the service for a few euros.
Another option for receiving training is to purchase an information booklet at the store inside. You can also buy various souvenirs of the place there. In addition, you can also download an application for your mobile device, which includes full training on the site. Such applications are available in all languages.
What’s in the area
The Pantheon has been given a central and lively location, which makes it an integral part of the city’s entertainment journey. The square where it sits – Piazza della Rotonda is full of cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Sometimes you can even enjoy live music performances right in front of the Pantheon. Nearby is the powerful shopping street Via del Corso and other tourist sites such as the famous Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and Piazza Navona.
How to get there
The streets of the old city of Rome are too narrow to accommodate buses. You can reach the nearby stations, which are a few minutes walk from the site, at Argentina Square. You can use the service of lines 40, 60, and 64, which serve as a kind of shuttles that run between the Vatican and the city center.
Another option is a tour on the Hop-on-hop-off tourist buses, which will take you to all the famous sites in the city. However, the best way to get to know the city and feel the atmosphere is on foot!
Take a guided walking tour of the city, or go on a walking tour yourself, and pass through the many fascinating tourist sites that Rome has to offer.