Pantheon, An Incredible Sight that will Stay with you Forever
The Dome of Pantheon is undoubtedly its most fascinating part. The largest unsupported Dome in the world has been an inspiration for many other famous domes including that of St. Peter's Basilica. Michelangelo who designed the famous dome of St. Peter's Basilica stated it to be the work of angels and not of humans. The height of the Pantheon up to the top of the Dome is exactly equal to the diameter of the Dome! And what makes such large structure stay put at its place? It is its weight. The Roman Engineers tried to keep it as light as possible. This was done by using a lighter material as the height of dome increased. The thickness of the dome progressively decreases with its height due to which from exterior the dome seems flattened. There is no window in the Pantheon and the only source of light is the Oculus, a nine-meter opening at the top of the dome. It is amazing to see how the raindrops do not reach the floor during light rains. Even heavy rains do not flood the building as the floor is gently sloped.
Your way to Pantheon goes through the Portico. Originally the steps of the Pantheon lead to its entrance but due to rise in the ground level in over 2000 years, the steps now lead to the Porch that gives you a grand welcome. The Porch is surrounded by granite columns that have Corinthian capitals. Added above the porch is an inscription that reads the name of Marcus Agrippa who originally got it built. Great Bronze doors that were covered with gold originally guard the entrance to the Pantheon.
The mighty Pantheon is not only awe-inspiring in its structure but also has an opulent interior. The elegant interiors beautifully synch into the proportions of the building. The cylindrical structure of the Pantheon is ornamented with varying and distinct rectangular and semi-circular niches that provide an overwhelming experience.
Pantheon is a burial site of Italian kings and contains several tombs. The second niche on the right contains the tomb of Victor Emmanuel II while the second niche on left contains tombs of Umberto I and Queen Margherita, his wife. The third niche on the left has a monument created in 1924 by Bertel Thorvaldsen a Danish sculptor to memorialize Consalvi, the Cardinal Secretary of State. Pantheon also has tombs of Renaissance painter Raphael, sculptor/architect Flaminio Vacca and that of the painters of 16th Century Taddeo Zuccari and Perin del Vaga.
How to Get Tickets?
There are no admission charges to Pantheon and unlike other crowded places of Rome, there are no long queues and security checks.
What Should I Wear?
Pantheon is a functional church where a dress code is enforced. Like other churches in Rome, you will not be allowed entry in case of bare shoulders and knees. Shorts, mini-skirts, vest tops are not permitted. While visiting the place wear long skirts, trousers, and long-sleeved shirts. Long shorts that cover your knees will also do.
Best Time to Visit
Pantheon opens from Monday to Saturday between 9 am – 7:15 pm and from 9 am -5:45 pm on Sundays. It is closed on some national holidays or if a mass is taking place. On public holidays you can visit it from 9 am to 12:45 pm. The place is not much crowded except in the mornings. If you wish to avoid crowds, then visit it early morning when it opens or in the afternoon after 4 pm. Plan a visit between 11:00 am to 1:00 pm to see the sun streaming in through the Pantheon. Or if possible, try visiting it during the slight rains to be wondered at the sight of raindrops not reaching the ground even when the Oculus opening above is 9 meters in diameter.
Will I Need a Guide?
You can explore Pantheon on your own but to make most of the experience better opt for guided tours. Also, audio guides are available that will reveal to you all the interesting facts about the place. Interactive apps for IOS as well as Android mobile phones are also available for download.
How To Get There?
Ancient Rome has narrow streets, especially the area around Pantheon. Therefore, there is no bus that takes you to the place. All the buses have to stop at some distance from the Pantheon from where you will have to walk to reach Pantheon. You will not find any metro station nearby.