Walking down the narrow streets from Piazza Navona all of sudden something magnificent appears in front of you. It is the Pantheon! Beautifully preserved ancient temple. Almost 2000 years old building takes its place in Piazza della Rotonda. Many restaurants and bars surround this square. You can have a glass of prosecco in of them and enjoy the atmosphere of this mysterious place.
Agrippa or Hadrian
Because of the letters at the portico of the building they believed for a long time that Pantheon was built by emperor Agrippain 27BC. His temple actually burnt in flames in the big fire in 80 AD. Hadrian was the one who completely redesigned it. Septimus Severus and Caracalla later did another restoration to the building.
They changed the ancient pagan temple into a Christian church on march 16th in 609 AD. It happened under Pope Boniface IV. As a result of this process, they brought bones of many Christians from the catacombs there. They dedicated the church to St. Mary of the Martyrs. These actions ensured to preserve the ancient building to this day.
16 granite columns hold the portico. They decorated the ceiling with bronze plates. Pope Urban VIII decided to “recycle” almost 450.000 pounds of this bronze. Bernini used it after for the Baldacchino St. Peters and other works.
The dimensions of the temple Pantheon have the same hight as the width. In the middle of the dome, there is 9 meters wide hole. There is no glass. When it rains water pours in the building. There is a system of drains on the floor which takes the water out. They call this hole “Oculus”, an eye of a god. It is also from where light and air enter the building.
A beautiful fountain takes it places in the middle of the square Piazza della Rotonda. It was designed by Giacomo della Porta. The most significant part of the fountain is probably the obelisk. It comes from the times of Egyptian King Ramsess II.
Pantheon in Paris
One of the legends says that at the times of Napoleon Bonaparte they wanted to take Pantheon to France. They have already planned to take to pieces the whole building. Consequently, the would have brought the stones to Paris and build it there again. For the reason that it never happened and we can still admire its beauty in its original place.
They also call Pantheon “The grave of Kings”. Victor Emanuel II, the first king of Italy, and Umberto I are buried there. Furthermore, there are not only tombs of the Italian kings! You can also honour one of the biggest Italian artists Raphael or Queen Margherita. When we say Margherita what do you think of? Certainly not the drink since we are in Italy but the pizza of course:). The legend says that they call this pizza Margherita in honour of the Queen. The pizza consists of red tomatoes, white mozzarella and green basil. Above all, there are the colours of the Italian flag!
A cup of coffee
Close to the Pantheon, there is a famous cofè. Its name is La Casa del Cafè Tazza d’Oro. You can have an espresso there the way local Italians do it. Just pay for your coffee go to the bar and the baristas will prepare it for you. You can enjoy the delicious full taste of coffee when standing at the bar and watching the crowds around you.
Have you already tried one of the best icecreams in Rome? Our guides can take you to gelateria Giolitti on tour. Trust me, you will remember this ice cream for the rest of your life:)! Finally, you will be able to say that you tested real Italy:)