Just thinking of Rome, conjures up in me thoughts of fabulous restaurants, people handwaving, endless water fountains, the Vatican, the Colosseum, crazy drivers, Roman Architecture - and then there is the famous Rome Pantheon. We were so lucky, in that the hotel we had selected was located just one block away. Almost everyday, we got to see the Pantheon, and what a blessing that was. It is truly a magnificent structure.
The Pantheon is a former Roman temple and since the year 609 AD is a Catholic church (Basilica of St. Mary and the Martyrs). It was built initially by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD). It was later rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian c. 126 AD. The Roman inscription carved into the portico reads “Marcus Agrippa, the son of Lucius, three times consul, built this”.
The main building is cylindrical with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) 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 metres (142 ft). It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings, in large part because it has been in continuous use throughout its history. It truly is worth the visit as previous years has seen over 6 million people tour the beautiful building.
We decided one day to have breakfast at one of the many restaurant cafes’ that line the square in front of the Pantheon. The weather, lighting and clouds were perfect, and I was able to capture this image that really shows the glory of the Pantheon exterior, with people moving about and sellers set up in front of the main columns.