Literally the ‘Temple of all the Gods', the Pantheon has survived the millennia. Built by Agrippa in 27 BC and rebuilt and magnified by Hadrian in the year 118 AD, it has a few wrinkles here and there, and it lost some of its lustre when the bronze tiles that covered its dome were looted for the construction of other buildings, including St. Peter's Basilica. Its niches, too, were emptied of their statues of the gods. Still, it remains undeterred and massive, one of the most beautiful monuments of ancient Rome, a symbol of the virtuosic skills of a civilisation.
You will feel tiny under the celestial vault formed by its dome of five rings of sunken panels or coffers, whose proportions (height equal to diameter), long unsurpassed, inspired Michelangelo. The oculus, the circular opening in the centre of the dome, lets in an almost divine beam of light, whose nimbus gives the interior a mystical glow. Who knows, perhaps it also releases the religious vows of its visitors.
Piazza della Rotonda
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