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[Rome] The Pantheon, home to tombs of the illustrious dead

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The Pantheon we see in Rome today is the third version of its original version rebuilt in 126 AD after the first two were burnt down in a fire. It is among the best preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings, and till today, the Pantheon's dome remains the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. Since the Renaissance age, it has been used as a tomb, and while it is now a church with masses carried out in it, it continues to house the remains of many famous ancient people in Italy.

Frontal view of the Pantheon. Its famous dome isn't visible from the front. The inscription says "Marcus Agrippa son of Lucius consul for the 3rd time built this"

Many horse carriage drivers gather outside the Pantheon, hoping to do business with tourists.


There is a large fountain with an obelisk called the Fontana del Pantheon in front of it.

The area around the fountain seems to be a favourite meeting place.


View of the famous un-reinforced dome from inside the Pantheon. The oculus at the top is the only source of natural light. It is very interesting to watch the movements of the clouds through it because in such a small space, every movement made by the clouds becomes amplified. There are benches below the occulus which are for mass. When there is no mass, visitors can just sit on the benches to relax or watch the sky. When it rains, there is a drain hole system in the ground that prevents flooding.

Those indented squares are meant to reduce the volume of the dome. I guess if you don't reinforce it, the only solution is to reduce its weight to prevent it from collapsing!


The detailing of the interior is really intricate and beautiful.

The main altar where masses are conducted. It features, overhead, a gold and skyblue mosaic design.

The tomb of King Vittorio Emanuele II, who also has a memorial at Altare della Patria. This marks his final resting place.

Tomb of another Italian King Umberto I

St. Anne and the Blessed Virgin

St Agnes and the Agnes Dei by Vincenzo Felici. I photographed it because of the lamb to be honest.

St. Joseph and the Holy Child by Vincenzo de’ Rossi.

Here is the key attraction of the Pantheon - the great Renaissance artist Raphael's tomb! The black bust on the left is Raphael's bust, and on the right is the Madonna of the Rock. The sarcophagus is below. I contemplated taking a picture of/with it, but in the end decided it was too bloody creepy so left it at that (thank you blonde photo bomb). Unlike King Vittorio Emanuele II, Raphael's sarcophagus is on the ground so I find that it further reinforces the fact that there's a dead body inside.

Bronze bust of Raphael. He sure is a handsome man!

Close up of Madonna of the Rock. It is commissioned by Raphael, and created by his student Lorenzetto.

Selfie time!

Although there are many tourists in the Pantheon, most people are pretty good about being quiet and respectful in a place of worship. In fact, the frequent automated announcements booming every 5 minutes as reminders to visitors to be quiet were far more annoying and distracting than the visitors!

Posted by kurodatenshi 11:41 Archived in Italy Tagged landscapes churches art sculptures landmarks italy roma rome pantheon

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