There are few buildings in the world that have stood for over 2,000 years and the Pantheon is perhaps the most grand of them all. Built in 27BC by Augustus Caesar on the outskirts of Rome at the time, it was a formidable structure. Much like many grand buildings of the time, it was destroyed during a great fire in 80AD and a rebuilt version burned down again in 110AD.
Despite many claims to the contrary, the stone temple seen today was built before Hadrian by the Emperor Trajan. The structure is truly impressive as it has stood through a number of earthquakes, fires and wars unscathed. The dome has been the largest unsupported dome in the world for nearly 2 millenia and astonishingly is made out of concrete.
The Pantheon's marble interior impresses visitors from the moment they step through the door. The thing most people notice first is a large gap at the tip of the dome - the oculus. This is the only source of interior light and is engineered to stay dry during rain. Water can get in from storms but a sophisticated drainage system is built under the floor to cater for anything that seeps through.
Christian additions from latter medieval ages can be found all round this ancient temple. Moreover, some of Italian nobility and famous Italians are buried in the Pantheon. Most notably, a tomb of the artist Raphael and his fiancée is inside the building with a statue of Madonna of the Rock behind the sarcophagus made by Lorenzetto - one of Raphael's followers.
Throughout the Year
Piazza della Rotonda