Arguably one of the best-preserved ancient monuments in Italy, the Pantheon not only holds the tombs of the Italian monarchy from 1870-1946 but also houses the notable tomb of the world-famous Renaissance artist Raphael. Built in c. 125 in the reign of Hadrian, this grandiose building lays testimony to the genius of Soufflon — an ambitious roman architect.
While the original purpose of the building still remains unknown, its royal name, classical Greek porch and pediment decoration suggest a temple of some sort. In fact, it is believed that it was the place where the emperor would make public appearances to remind onlookers of his divine status, equivalent to the other Roman gods. Today, even after 2,000 years, the building stands intact and offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the modern visitor to step back in time and experience the Roman glory!
While this magnificent building stands on a 1.3 meters high base, it consists of a quintessential Greek-style porch and a circular central building which is way more Roman in style and also indicative of the architecture of the large Roman baths. The dome is made of concrete with a fine covering of bronze sheets whereas the circular building is built using brick and concrete to match the porch in appearance. Also, the dome prides on its spectacular oculus (an opening toward the sky) which is 8.8 meters in diameter and adorned with a decorative bronze sheet frieze.
What’s more; the Pantheon is among the first few buildings from ancient Rome that are deliberately master-crafted to outshine the exterior. Evident in the building’s circular part, the lavish interiors can be glanced first at the grand entrance that is decked with two bronze doors measuring 12 x 7.5 metres. Moreover, there is an over-the-top pavement that is designed in a square pattern using red porphyry, grey granite, Phrygian purple and Numidian yellow marble.