This 1st-century wonder will take your breath away. Not only is it one of the city's most ancient sites, it's been in continuous use for centuries. Originally built as a private temple, today it is a Catholic church and the resting place of Italian kings and the artist Raphael. Make the most of a wet day in Rome and watch as the rain falls through the center oculus.
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Fall in Love with the Pantheon
Built sometime in the second century C.E., and dedicated to all the ancient Roman gods, the Pantheon has been a working Catholic church since the seventh century. It is far and away the best-preserved of Rome's ancient wonders, and its roof is still the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world.
The Pantheon in Rome is one of the easier places to visit as a tourist in Rome, if you ask me. First of all, it’s free! It’s also quite impressive compared to just about any other major tourist attraction in Europe. It’s much more grandiose than it appears from the outside. Trust me: step inside and you'll see what all the fuss is about!
I can never grow tired of looking at the Pantheon. It's perhaps the best preserved building from ancient Rome. It would have even been in better condition had Baroque artist and architect not stripped the roof of its bronze in order to build the Baldachino in St. Peter's Basilica.
My favorite piazza in Rome is right here, gazing at the Roman temple to all the gods. The elegant dome, intact for 2000 years, shelters a dramatic colorful marble interior, a hint of the glories the Forum once held for the populous.
Today, young lovers lounge at the splashing fountain while tourists link hands to surround the enormous granite pillars, floated to Rome from Egypt by some ambitious Caesar. The pharaohs provided the obelisk that graces the fountain, too.
Sipping chilled Prosecco, I contemplate the range of history--four thousand years or so--on display before me. Hadrian’s building spree in 80 AD, Egyptian hieroglyphs and medieval ironwork. A bride and groom arrive with their entourage to pose for photos with the ancient monuments, declaring ‘our love will last as long as the Pantheon stands.’ Ask a Roman engineer how long that will be, and he will answer with ringing authority: Forever.
The Pantheon is a spectacular structure, and one of the oldest and best preserved in Rome. The light changes throughout the day—this was taken about 12:30 p.m. in April. Be ready for big crowds, but looking at all the architectural details can make everyone else there irrelevant.
You will find these handy water fountains throughout Rome. And thank the Gods, because the sun can be punishing. So, be sure to carry a water bottle with you and beware the watchful eyes of the ever-present water police.
Sitting at one of the over-priced cafes outside the Pantheon, we got our money's worth by spending a couple of hours people-watching. The waiter, though he might look at bit stern, was great. He went out of his way to ensure that everyone had a great experience.