Piazza della Rotunda
Tel. 06-6830 0230 Bus: 116 Open: 8:30am- 7:30pm Mon- Sat
9am- 6pm Sun Closed: Jan 1, May 1, Dec 25
Pantheon was originally build by Agrippa in 27 BC as a temple
devoted to all deities worshiped by the Romans, it was rebuild by
emperor Hadrian (117- 38). Roman Pantheon is probably the best
preserved single structure from the Roman empire. With 20 feet thick
walls at the base this structure supports a large dome with diameter
of 142 feet. At highest point its height equals its diameter forming
a perfect square. The floor is slanted slightly to the center so
that water could easily drain away. Since it has no windows on the
side the only opening was made at the highest point of the temple.
“Oculus” or “eye” is a thirty feet across and served as the only
source of light. The dome over Pantheon influenced design of Saint
Peter’s dome in Rome and dome of the Florence cathedral.
Pantheon escaped destruction largely due to the fact that it became a
Christian Church. However in the 17th century over active pope Urban
VIII (born Maffeo Barberini) started removing bronze nails and plates
from the temple to melt them into a baldachin over St. Peter’s altar.
Romans hate this so much that a saying appeared: “What barbarians did
not do, Barbarini (Ital. for “small barbarian”) has done”. Today
Pantheon is a resting place of artist Raphael (died 1520), king and
unifier of Italy Victor Emmanuel II (died 1878) and king Umberto I who
was assassinated in 1900.