Pantheon

Rome, Italy

The Pantheon (meaning 'temple of every god') is a former Roman temple, now a church, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC-14 AD). The present building was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. He retained Agrippa's original inscription, which has confused its date of construction as the original Pantheon burnt down so it is not certain when the present one was built.

The building is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43.3 metres.

Pantheon is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings. The Pantheon's large circular domed cella, with a conventional temple portico front, is 'unique' in Roman architecture. Nevertheless, it became a standard exemplar when classical styles were revived, and has been copied many times by modern architects.

Pantheon was converted into the church of St. Mary of the Martyrs in 608 CE. In 1270 a bell tower was added to the porch roof and later removed. Also, at some time in the Middle Ages the left side of the porch was damaged which necessitated the replacement of three columns. The first came from Domitian's villa at Castelgandolfo and was added in 1626. The other two columns came from the Baths of Nero and were added in 1666. However, these additions were rose-pink in colour whilst originally the front eight columns of the porch were all grey and only the internal four were pink Aswan. Also in 1626 Pope Urban VIII removed all of the bronze girders from the porch roof and recast the metal into 80 canons for the city's Castel Sant'Angelo. The presence of these girders suggests that the porch roof originally had heavy marble tiles.

Despite these changes the Pantheon is one of the best preserved ancient monuments in the world and it still has an important function and status today as within it are the tombs of the Italian monarchy from 1870-1946 and another notable tomb is that of Raphael (1483-1520 CE).

Pantheon is visited by over 6 million people annually. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Rome.

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Founded: 126 AD
Category: Religious sites in Italy

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mayumi Fulgencio (3 months ago)
Incredible. I was lucky enough to attend mass in Latin & Italian on a Saturday afternoon. Tickets were sold out and attending mass was free as a religious rite and I could not have been more moved and touched by the service here. Also, staff were incredibly patient and kind when explaining procedure/ticket purchasing when inquired!
Scyler Kollar (3 months ago)
Well worth the price for admission (€5). I would highly recommend picking up an audio guide on the left side once you enter. It's incredible to learn about the history of this place. It's not too long either, I would say you can comfortably do the whole thing in an hour or less.
Greg Stortz (3 months ago)
The world’s largest freestanding dome is a must see! This space has been converted into a church but has a very robust history to it. Visit to see the enormous room and enjoy some historic art and statues (religious ones of course). It looks like they do mass there, but I wasn’t able to learn how or when.
Papillon Noir (3 months ago)
Magnificent monument. Amazed by its glory and history. They charge the entrance (5€) which I would definitely pay again to visit but in my opinion I don't think that this is necessary, it used to be free.
Steve Robb (5 months ago)
This place is an amazing historical site in Rome. It was our first stop the day we got there. Highly recommended. From my research I was told it was free on a weekday. We went on a Friday. But when we got there we were told you needed to buy tickets to get in. The line for tickets was short and, they were €10 each I believe. well worth the price.
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