The Pantheon (panteo - a place sacred to all gods) is a temple of a characteristic round shape located in the Campus Martius in Rome.
The building was founded by Emperor Hadrian in 125. It was built as a replacement for the temple demolished during the fire of 80. The construction was led by Apollodorus of Damascus. The Pantheon is thought to be one of the greatest and the best preserved buildings from ancient Rome times.
The first rectangular temple was founded by Agrippa, the son-in-law and the closest collaborator of Emperor Octavius Augustus. It was built in honour to the city's divine patrons in 27BC. In 80 it was burnt down and the Pantheon of round plan was erected in the same place. The circumference is 44 meters and the building has a great dome due to the wish of Emperor Hadrian. THe temple has a rectangular portico with a collonade bearing a inscription: 'Built by Marcus Agrippa when he was a consul for the third time' dedicated to the founder. In the 5th century the temple got damaged during an invasion of barbarians. In the 7th century Emperor Focas gave the Pantheon to Pope Boniface IV who adapted it for a church of Santa Maria ad Martyre. Thanks to the fact that it had become a Christian temple it was not destroyed as most of the buildings of ancient Rome. In the 8th century the dome and a roof or the portico were coated with a lead sheet since the gilded tiles were removed from the roof in 663 to be remelted into coins.
The Pantheone was converted into a fortress and a defensive building in the 14th century. After that, it was renewed due to a project of Rafael Santi during the Renaissance. In the 19th century the Vatican ordered to destroy sculptures from the temple because they were depicting mythological gods.
The Pantheon is one of the greatest domical buildings in the world. Its interior has a majestic ambiance which is emphasized by its fine structural materials, simplicity, regularity of the shapes and classical decorations. Nevertheless, during years its interior became more and more meagre rather because of conscious decisions of the authorities than invasions of enemies. Most of all, it was Pope Urban III Berberini who contributed to the impoverishment of the temple. Namely, he ordered to use some of the building elements during a construction of spiral columns which can be found above the tomb of St. Peter. They are situated in the St. Peter's basilica in the Vatican and were designed by Bernini. Romans summed that up with a saying: 'What had not been destroyed by barbarians was destroyed by Barberianis'.
The Pantheon is 44 meters high and wide. At the entrance there are sixteen columns in the Corinthian style in three rows. In the dome there is an oculus of 7,9 meters in its diameter, the only hole whose function is to illuminate the interior. As it remains uncovered, the floor beneath is slightly concave to collect rain and let it then outflow through the drainage system underneath the floor. On the dome there are bracing coffers, thanks to which extra ribs are not necessary. Massive walls are adapted to changes of temperature. The interior of the temple is harmonious because of the unity of decorations and well-balanced proportions. Inside the walls there are alternatively semicircular and rectangular niches with chapels dedicated to, for instance, Rafael Santi and his fiancée Maria Bibbiena, Perino del Vagi, Julius Romano, Baltasar Peruzzi and italian kings Victor Emanuel II, Humbert II and queen Margaret.
The Pantheon is located in the former Campus Martius and is one of the most visited attractions in Rome. The temple is an example of ancient buildings which monumentalism coincides perfectly with the artistry and lightness of numerous details.
|Neighbourhood||VII Via Lata (14 regioni di Roma augustea)|
|Geographical coordinates||41.8986278, 12.4764190|
|Address||00186 Rome, Via della Rotonda 15 - 20|
|Construction dates||- 125|