Pantheon Rome: It Really Is A Must See

When we first stumbled upon the Pantheon Rome we were stunned by the beauty of the temple. It really is an amazing Greek Temple and worth the visit. It's free to go in and take a walk through. You will be amazed with the Architecture of this magnificent ancient sanctuary.

We were astonished with the ceiling. The Pantheon Rome has a massive circle in the center of it. Since the Renaissance period the Pantheon has been used as a tomb, and some great names, like Raphael and the Italian kings Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I,. This is where they had chosen their resting place.

Pantheon Rome : A Brief History Of The Massive Temple

The Pantheon Rome was constructed in 125 AD as a Greek temple. This beautifully architected building was ingeniously designed to support the weight of its huge dome. A hole in the centre of the dome (the oculus) provides filtered light into the building. The Pantheon is called the "temple of all the gods".

The much larger Roman Pantheon that we see today was built by Emperor Hadrian between 118 and 125 A.D. and stands on some of the foundations of the original structure. The pediment of the portico was taken from the original Pantheon and placed there by Hadrian. The inscription, which reads "M.AGRIPPA.L.F.COS.TERTIUM.FECIT", means: "Marcus Agrippa son of Lucius consul for the 3rd time built this".

In 609 B.C. the Pantheon in Rome was given to the Catholic Church by Byzantine Emperor Phocas. It was blessed as a holy place by Pope Boniface IV. It was later named the Church of Santa Maria and Martyres. This consecration (which was seen by some to be a poaching by the Catholic Church) but it was most likely saved the building from falling into disrepair. Like many of the other ancient Roman buildings.

It was during the reign of Pope Urban VIII (of the Barberini family) that the Roman Pantheon suffered most of its desecration. The bronze adorning, which covered the columns and ceiling of the Portico, was stripped melted and used to build canons for the Castel Sant'Angelo and also to build the Baldachin (altar) which stands above St Peter's tomb in St Peter's Basilica.

This led to a popular Roman saying, "Quer che nun fecero li Barberi lo fecero i Barberini" - that which the Barbarians couldn't do was done by the Barberini!

Since the Renaissance period the Pantheon has been used as a tomb, and some great names, like Raphael and the Italian kings Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I, have chosen this as their final resting place.

The Pantheon remains a church, and to this day masses and weddings are celebrated.

Pantheon Rome : Some Interesting Facts

•The Pantheon's height of 43,3m equals the dome's diameter. Two identical domes would make a perfect sphere, which would fit inside a cube of the same dimensions.

•The entrance doors to the Pantheon are 7m high (22 feet) and made out of bronze.

•The weight of the dome is approximately 4,5 thousand tons.

•Contrary to some religious tales, rain does penetrate the oculus (there is a drain in the marble floor directly below the oculus).

•Inside the Roman Pantheon there are seven arched recesses which originally housed statues of the seven ancient Gods.

•A scene of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons was set in the Pantheon, where references are made to the tombs of Raphael and the two Italian kings.

•To this day some members of the Italian monarchist organization watch over the ex-king's tombs even though Italy has been a "Republic" since 1946. Both the Catholic authorities and the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage (in charge of the security and maintenance) allow the practice to continue. Dan Brown also makes reference to this in the Angels and Demons.

•In 609 B.C., when the Roman Pantheon was given to the Catholic Church, Pope Boniface IV brought in 18 cart loads of bones of Christian martyrs and had them placed under the main altar. He then consecrated the Pantheon and dedicated it to Virgin Mary, hence its synonym Church of Santa Maria ad Martyrs.

•It is the best preserved of all ancient Roman buildings and probably the best preserved building from the era.

•The Pantheon dome is the largest un reinforced dome in the world and was the largest dome for 1311 years until Brunelleschi completed the Duomo of Florence in 1436.

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