The Pantheon in the heart of Rome, Italy was commissioned during the reign of Augustus Caesar (who is also the founder of Rome and died in 14 AD) and rebuilt during the rule of Hadrian in 126 AD. It was once a pagan temple of worship to multiple Gods but was converted to a Catholic church in 669 AD. It still functions as a church today and you can attend mass there at designated times throughout the week. A few other interesting facts we picked up during our visit there:
1) The Pantheon is the best preserved building in ancient Rome – A large reason for this is that (unlike with the Colosseum or the Forum) it served as a church and thus remained important to those who stayed in Rome during the Dark Ages.
2) The Pantheon dome (142 feet in diameter) continues to be the largest unenforced concrete dome in the world – pretty impressive after 2000 years!
3) This is the ‘third’ version of the Pantheon – there were two other versions. The first burned down around 25 BC and the second burned down during the first century AD.
4) Raphael – the famed Renaissance painter – is buried here. Raphael died at the age of 37 – amazing what they used to accomplish at such young ages! Makes me feel useless at 33.
Photo of the Day – The Dome of the Pantheon
I took this picture just after the opening on our last morning in Rome. I set the camera up on a ledge and used my wallet, cell phone, folded pieces of paper, etc… to tilt the camera up so it pointed at the ceiling. I took a six exposures (+4 to -4) in order to capture the detail where the sun was shining through the hole in the Dome.
It’s hard to think that only six weeks ago I stood admiring the wonders of Rome. I wish we could be back there right now (just with unlimited time to explore).