Friday, June 7, 2013

Roman Holiday: The Pantheon

I'm joining for the first time The Tablescaper in her terrific new blog party, “Oh, The Places I've Been!”  The wonderful memories of our trip to Italy in 2008 keep coming back to me, so I thought I'd share this excursion to one of the most remarkable buildings in Rome - The Pantheon.

Located at the Piazza della Rotonda, originally built as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome, and rebuilt circa 125 A.D. during Hadrian's reign.

Fontana del Pantheon, designed by Giacomo della Porta and built by Leonardo Sormani, located in front of the Pantheon.  I was so fascinated by all the architecture that I took copious notes during the trip.  I was such a geek!  For this post, I dug out my little travel notebook to refresh my memory and it was like going back again.

Robert, my husband's brother, and Barb, my sister-in-law, traveling companions extraordinaires.

Entrance to the Pantheon.

Pope Urban VII (1623-1644) ordered the bronze ceiling of the Pantheon's portico melted down.  Most of the bronze was used to make bombards, an early form of cannon that fired stone balls.

The oculus, the Great Eye, is the opening at the top of the Pantheon's coffered, concrete dome, and is the only source of natural light in this building.  The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 142 feet.

Pope Boniface IV converted the Pantheon into a Christian church and consecrated it to Santa Maria ad Martyres.

The tomb of Raphael Sanzio, usually known by his first name alone (in Italian, Raffaello), one of the great masters of the Italian High Renaissance.  The  inscription on the tomb was written by Pietro Bembo, a brilliant intellectual of the period:  “Here lies Raphael, by whom Nature feared to be overcome while he was living, and while he was dying, [feared] herself to die.”

And as we came back outside, awed by all we'd seen, we found this stand selling the same book of Rome in, oh, at least 30 languages!  A little modern capitalism to counter all those centuries of history.  From the sublime to the ridiculous!


Ann said...

Oh how marvelous!!!! The lighting must be amazing in the top of the building--what extraordinary thought was used in the construction. Isn't it great to have a journal of the trip, we went to Europe several years ago and I kept a detailed ledger of every day and event.

Marisol@TravelingSolemates said...

Hi Maria, the Pantheon is one of my favorite buildings in Rome as well. Isn't it amazing? Your images brought back fond memories. (H! Ha! It definitely pays to be a geek. You can always rely on your notes to refresh details of the trip.)

Barb said...

Thanks for the memories!