The next day, we were able to get to the Pantheon about mid-day, when the sun was overhead and bright. Let's go in!
Entering the building...
When we arrived, there were quite a few people present, but they left shortly afterwards.
There is that magnificent cement dome with the opening at the center to let in light.
The Pantheon was originally built by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all ancient Roman gods and rebuilt by emporer Hadrian in 126 AD. It is the best preserved of all ancient Roman buildings. "Why is that?", you may ask.
The reason is that it was converted to a Roman Catholic church in the 7th century, so the church maintained the building. Otherwise, it would probably have fallen into disrepair and dismantling as other ancient Roman buildings have done.
Pantheon is now a generic term that refers to any building where the dead or honored or buried. There is another more elaborate Pantheon in Paris.
The original Pantheon, built in 27 BC, was completely destroyed in a huge fire in 80 AD. Domitan rebuilt the Pantheon, but it burned again in 110 AD. The current 2000 year old building is made of stone - looks like they finally caught on!
As a church, there is an altar towards the back of the building.
This almost looks like a drawing, but it is in fact a photograph. The effect of the light on the concrete is fabulous. To this day, the Pantheon has the largest unreinforced concrete dome in existence.
Since the Renaissance, the Pantheon has been used as a tomb for Raphael (painter), Annibale Carracci (painter), Arcangelo Corelli (composer), and Baldassare Peruzzi (architect).
Constant repair hopefully ensures the Pantheon has a long future in front of it.
From there, we had lunch in the Piazza della Rotunda. A word of advice, bypass the closest restaurant to the Pantheon and pick the second or third one back. Much less crowded and your wallet will thank you too.
The fountain in the piazza is a very popular backdrop for photos.