As I receive news that every friend I have is married, pregnant or in some form of domestic bliss, I found my bliss: visiting the Pantheon in Rome. Another dream I could tick off as complete. (Funnily enough, I can tick 5 off in Rome alone). I polished off my pistachio gelato and walked into one of the most famous landmarks in history.
Like most historical sites in Rome, the Pantheon creeps up on you as you turn a corner. You’re just walking idly along, wondering if you are close, only to turn a corner and BAM! The Pantheon. No time to catch your breath and only a few short steps to take it in before you are inside. (Much like the Colosseum, which slaps you on the face as you walk out of the Metro-Colosseo).
The Pantheon is a temple dedicated to the gods of Pagan Rome. It was built between 118 and 125 A.D under the command of emperor Hadrian. Legend has it that the Pantheon was built on the spot where the founder of Rome and its first King, Romulus, was seized by an eagle and taken off into the skies with the Gods. If that’s not a story worthy to impress your kids, you need new kids.
The first thing to strike you is how well-preserved it is. The eye is naturally drawn up toward the dome, and on this particular day, thousands of tiny droplets entered the Pantheon and fell on the floor before it trickled off the slightly concave floor. The tombs of the Italian kings Vittorio Emaneuele II and Umberto I, and the famous painter Raphael are buried at the Pantheon. Like many ancient sites, the audio requested silence. Like many ancient sites, the tourists would oblige for 0.2 microseconds before they needed to talk. They were in the Pantheon after all and their hundreds of Twitter fans needed an update.
Have you ever been to the Pantheon? What did you think?