The pietas of the ancient Romans
A multitude of gods crowded the devotional world of ancient Rome. A complex panorama that ranges from rustic old archaic beliefs absorption of Etruscan and Greek gods, down to the personality cult of the imperial era. The common thread is the pietas, complex feeling that includes respect for religion, family and country. This explains the value of taking the civil Roman temples, used for ceremonies and prayers, but also places in which took place purely civic activities.
Pantheon (Temple of all the gods) is a building of ancient Rome, built as a temple dedicated to the gods of Olympus. The inhabitants of Rome call it a friendly Rotonna or Ritonna “the Rotonda”, from which the name of the square. It was rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian between 118 and 128 AD, after the fire, 80 and 110 AD had damaged the former building of the Augustan age.
In the early seventh century, the Pantheon was converted into a Christian basilica, called Santa Maria della Rotonda, in some cases as Santa Maria Rotondo, or Santa Maria ad Martyrs, which allowed it to survive almost intact to spoliations made to the buildings of classical Rome by the popes.
Almost everything you can see dates back to Roman times, even the dome, 43.4 meters high and the massive bronze door. The porch is decorated inside with precious polychrome marbles and its façade has 16 monolithic columns of granite that is 14 meters high. The interior is characterized by the majesty of the circular coffered dome. The only opening is at the center of the dome and creates a luminous effect that enhances the grandeur and harmony of the monument.
The Pantheon is the Roman monument which has the highest number of records: it is the best preserved, has the largest masonry dome in the history of architecture, is considered the forerunner of all modern places of worship, and was the ‘works of antiquity most copied and imitated.
Michelangelo considered it the work of angels and not of men.
The point at which it stands is not random but is a legendary place in the history of the city. According to Roman legend, in fact, this was the place where the founder of Rome, Romulus, at his death was grabbed by an eagle and carried up into heaven among the gods.
But what it was and what its name suggests? The name comes from two Greek words: pan, “all” + theon “divine”, in fact, the Pantheon was originally a small temple dedicated to all the Roman gods. Erected between 27 and 25 BC by the consul Agrippa, Prefect of the Emperor Augustus, the present building is the work of successive and massive restructuring.
Domitian in 80 AD, rebuilt after a fire, thirty years later he once again hit by a lightning fire. It was then rebuilt in its present form by Emperor Hadrian, under whose reign the Roman Empire reached its peak, and it is likely that the current structure is precisely a result of his genius eclectic tastes exotic. In fact, the Pantheon joins a cylindrical structure, a clear Roman mold, the beautiful outdoor colonnade of Greek inspiration.
Although the new structure results very different from the original Emperor Hadrian wanted the facade was Latin inscription which translated means “This was constructed by Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, Consul for the third time.”
Currently in the Pantheon contains the tombs of some members of the Savoia family and is also buried here, by his express wish, Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio) the supreme artist of the Renaissance that was particularly fond of this place.
Sunday: 9.00 am – 6.00 pm
Midweek Holidays: 9.00 am – 1.00 pm
Closed: January 1, May 1, December 25
Visits are not allowed during Masses (Holidays: 10.30 am; Saturday: 5.00 pm)