As one of the most iconic structures in the eternal city, the Pantheon has long been revered for its architectural grandeur and historical significance. Now, with the added allure of a visit from a modern visionary, the Pantheon has taken on a renewed sense of intrigue and fascination.
What is the story behind the Pantheon?
Unveiling the Pantheon: Where History Meets Legend
Nestled in the heart of Rome, just a stone’s throw from Piazza Navona, stands the magnificent Pantheon. The name originates from the Greek words “pan” (all) and “theon” (divine), signifying that the Pantheon was initially a small temple devoted to all Roman gods and goddesses. Lauded by Michelangelo as a creation of celestial beings rather than mortals, the Pantheon is a must-see that deserves more than a selfie.
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Constructed between 27 and 25 B.C. by the consul Agrippa, a close ally of Emperor Augustus, the Pantheon has undergone several renovations. Having withstood two separate fires in 80 and 110 A.D., the temple was rebuilt in its current form by Emperor Hadrian in 128 A.D., during the peak of Rome’s imperial grandeur.
The Pantheon is shrouded in countless stories and legends worth knowing before stepping foot in the temple, if for no other reason than to let your imagination go wild…because, if not here, where?
- Romulus, the founder of Rome, was seized by an eagle and ascended to the heavens among the gods upon his death at this very spot.
- The ancient Greek goddess Cybele, worshipped as the Great Mother, reportedly appeared in a dream to Agrippa, urging him to build the temple.
But this final tale proposes something even more thrilling and chilling…
3. The oculus, the central opening in the dome, was crafted by the Devil as he fled from the house of God.
Isn’t it remarkable how these myths and legends weave into the rich tapestry of the Pantheon’s history? We thought so…
As you step inside the hallowed halls of the temple, prepare to be captivated by the presence of seven splendid niches, nestled amidst two Corinthian columns. Originally, these niches symbolized the seven deities associated with the worship of the planets – the Sun, the Moon, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, and Mars. Following the Pantheon’s conversion into a Christian basilica in the early 7th century, some of these niches were repurposed to house altars dedicated to Christian martyrs.
The basilica was then christened Santa Maria della Rotonda or Santa Maria ad Martyres, and within its sacred confines lie the final resting places of illustrious figures and artists, including Annibale Carracci and Raphael. Notably, in January 1878, upon the passing of the first King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II, the Pantheon was selected as the eternal resting place for the Italian monarchs, holding the remains of King Vittorio Emanuele II, King Umberto I, and Queen Margherita of Savoy.
A visit to the Pantheon is an unparalleled, once-in-a-lifetime experience! It is a magnificent work of art that harmoniously blends beauty, craftsmanship, and history. Without a doubt, this iconic landmark is an essential stop on your itinerary when exploring the eternal city.