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Roman Pantheon

Top Ancient Rome Attractions

The Roman Pantheon is an impressive sight!

I remember literally rounding a corner in Rome and coming face to face with this ancient sight. It was breathtaking!

The Pantheon in Rome is tucked in a wonderful old neighborhood. It was the perfect introduction to Rome on our first trip.

Ancient Roman Pantheon at Dusk

This is the grandest and best-preserved of the ancient Rome attractions.

Ancient Rome History Pantheon

Roman Pantheon columns

The Roman Pantheon was built between AD119 and AD128 by emperor Hadrian. It replaced a temple built in 27BC by Marcus Agrippa, Augustus son-in-law, which was destroyed in the great fire of AD80.

Hadrian kept the original dedication which read "Marcus Agripa, son of Lucius, Consul for the third time, built this".

The Roman Pantheon was dedicated to the 12 Olympian gods of classical Greece. After the Fall of Rome, the Byzatine emperor gave the building to Pope Boniface IV.

The Pope made it into a Christian Church in AD609 and dedicated it to St. Mary of the Martyrs and it was re-christened Santa Maria ad Martyres on November 1 AD608. This is the origin of All Saints Day.

There is a legend saying that during the consecration of the church, devils and malign spirits rose up and flew out of the hole in the dome during the singing of the Gloria!!

Twenty eight cartloads of martyr's bones were brought here from the catacombs and buried underneath the altar! The artist Raphael and 2 kings of Italy are buried here.

Pantheon Architecture

Roman Pantheon Dome Ceiling

The Pantheon shows off the skill of Roman engineering. This is the largest concrete project undertaken before the 20th century. There are sixteen 40 foot massive granite columns.

The 141 foot span of the Dome is larger than St. Peter's and it goes from 23 feet thick at the base to 5 feet thick at the top.

It was created to represent the sky from inside and the 30 foot circular hole represents the looking up you can meditate on the heavens. The hole also is a source of light for the interior.

The Dome or Cupola is on a circular base with a "porch" as seen in Greek temples. This Dome was used as a model for the Florence Cathedral dome and St. Peter's Basilica dome. The porch was used as a fish market in the Middle Ages.

Roman Pantheon Interior
Interior of Pantheon Ferras

The interior has 7 niches that are semi-circular or rectangular. The marble floor is mainly the original. There is a fresco of the Annunciation by Melozzo da Forli and a sculpture of the Madonna by Raphael's student, Lorenzetto, to the left of the main altar.

Hotels Near the Pantheon in Rome

Albergo Cesari Hotel near the Pantheon
Albergo Cesari Hotel

Staying in Rome near the Pantheon is a great idea. This central location cannot be beat and the neighborhood is charming! Here a complete list of the best hotels in central Rome.

Pantheon Vacation Rentals in Rome Italy

Pantheon Vacation Rental in Rome

Consider living like a Roman by staying in Pantheon Vacation Rentals in Rome Italy.

Best Pantheon Bed and Breakfast

Baldassini B&B
Two blocks from the Pantheon, this bed and breakfast near the Pantheon has clean, quiet, comfortable rooms and a delicious breakfast.

Pantheon Rome Travel Information

  • The Roman Pantheon is free. It is beautiful to see at dusk and early in the morning there are fewer crowds. Weekends are busy.
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 8:30am-7:30pm, Sunday 9:00am-6:00pm, holidays 9:00am-1:00pm - closed for mass Saturday 5:00pm and Sunday 10:30am
  • Tour: There is an audioguide available to rent
  • Cafe: Nearby are La Tazza d'Oro for a great cup of coffee and Gelateria della Palma for fantastic gelato
Roman Pantheon by Pannini
by Giovanni Pannini 1700's

Check out the many other ideas for sightseeing in Rome. are some other ancient attractions that might be of interest to you:
Colosseum in Rome
The Roman Forum
Arch of Constantine
Baths of Diocletian
Caracalla Baths
Rome Catacombs

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