The Pantheon, one of the best-known Rome tourist attractions, has been a place of worship for over two millennia, built by Emperor Hadrian, around 125 AD, as a temple for Roman citizens to worship their most important Gods.
Today a visitor to the Pantheon, will find a unique, breathtaking structure, its interior boasts 16 Corinthian columns each cut from a single piece of stone, but it is the dome that is the major attraction for most people.
It remains one of the greatest feats of Roman design and engineering, a perfect semisphere, with the diameter being exactly equal to the interior height of 43.3 metres.
The only natural light that enters the building comes through the oculus, a nine metre round open window cut into the centre of the dome. It was thought that the open window gave the worshipers in the temple a special connection with their Gods. Michelangelo was so impressed with the design he later used in the building of the great dome of St Peters.
The Pantheon is also the final resting place for Italian kings Victor Emmanuel II, and Umberto I. Renaissance artist Raphael is also buried there.
What happens on a rainy day? Well it’s worth visiting on a rainy day just to see the water pour through the open window and then draining away through tiny holes drilled in the marble floor.
Today the Pantheon is a consecrated Christian church and still occasionally used for services.
Rome Hotels – Hotel Sole al
PantheonWhile there are a number of hotels near the Pantheon, the Hotel Sole al Pantheon is located directly in front of the Pantheon and is the oldest hotel in Rome.
This fine, five hundred year old hotel offers the guests a memorable stay. The very nature of this ancient building means no two rooms are the same, but the very thick walls mean, a good nights sleep without disturbance from other rooms.
How to find the Pantheon and the Hotel Sole al Pantheon
The Pantheon and the Hotel Sole al Pantheon are located in the historical centre of Rome in the Piazza della Rotonda close to many of the best-known sites.
If you plan some retail therapy while in town the Via del Corso and the Via del Condotti, two of Rome’s best and most prestigious shopping streets are only a short distance away.
The nearest Metro stop is Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) or take the number 40 bus from the main tourist hub at Termini.