Lift up your head on entering. Our attention is caught straightaway by a ray of slanting sunlight shooting down from the “oculus”, a 9- metre round aperture at the very top of the dome that illuminates the entire building.
If it is raining, watch the falling water disappear into the floor’s 22 virtually invisible holes.
Dedicated to the worship of every god (Pan-every Theon-divinity), the Pantheon was built by the Emperor Hadrian between 118 and 125 A.D. over the ruins of another temple dating back to 27 A.D. Statesman and General Marcus Agrippa was responsible for the construction of the original church, to whom a dedicatory inscription is clearly visible over today’s magnificent portico.
In 609, it was converted into a Christian Church by Pope Boniface IV and consecrated to Santa Maria of the Martyrs.
Turned into a memorial chapel for the kingsof Italy in 1870, the tombs of Vittorio Emanuele II, Umberto I and Margherita of Savoy are to be found here together with that of the celebrated Renaissance Artist Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, who is more often referred to as simply Raphael.