Pantheon Rome: the abode of the seven gods

The Pantheon is the only perfect pagan building which still stands in Rome and it has been in continuous use throughout its history. Let’s take a closer look at it….

Pantheon Rome: a close up

Pantheon, Rome: View-from-the-Pantheon-in-Rome

The Pantheon was built by Agrippa in 27 B. C. in memory of the victory of Augustus against Antony and dedicated to the gods of the seven planets Apollo, Diana, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn and you may see inside it the seven niches in which statues of these deities were placed for worship. On the portico by Minister Baccelli was restored the inscription M. AGRIPP A. L. F. COS. TERTIUM FECIT, meaning “Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, made [this building] when consul for the third time”. The architect of this majestic monument is said to be Valerio D’Ostia, it has 16 granite columns and was restored by Domitian. The present temple was built by Hadrian[1] in the second century A.D., the walls and the dome being exactly as he decreed them and the dome with its diminishing squares is surely one of the most satisfying pieces of architecture in the world. In 391 it was shut, in 608 it was granted to Boniface IV. by Foca.

[1] Archaeological excavations have shown that the Pantheon of Agrippa had been completely destroyed except for the façade.

Pantheon Rome: the transformation

Pantheon, Rome: View-from-the-Pantheon-in-Rome

In A.D. 609 Pope Boniface IV transformed the temple into the Christian church of St. Mary and the Martyrs and consecrated it. Twenty-eight wagonloads of the bones of martyrs from the catacombs were brought hither and re-interred. From the VIII. to XIV. century it was damaged and in 1087 it was transformed in a fortress by antipope Ghibertus. Urban VIII. restored it in 1632, but he took away the beams and nails, what caused celebrated Pasquino to say: Quod non fecerunt barbari fecerunt Barberini.

Pantheon Rome: today

The Pantheon is now the burial-place of the Kings of Italy. The severely simple tombs of Vittorio Emmanuele II. and Umberto I. are here. Here also lies Raphael.

What tourists say about the Pantheon in Rome?
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Buildings inspired by the Pantheon

The style of the Pantheon can be detected in many buildings of the 19th and 20th centuries; numerous government and public buildings, city halls, universities, and public libraries echo its portico-and-dome structure.

The walking tour itinerary

Pantheon is a stop of my “One day walking tour” in Rome. Check out the itinerary.