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November 2000
Rome - Famous Sites
Rome - Roman Ruins and the Colosseum
Rome - the Pantheon
Vatican and the Sistine Chapel
Rome - St. Peter's Basilica
Florence Images
Florence - Duomo
Lucca - Final Stop
The Visit
The Family
Madurodam Part 2
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Rome - the Pantheon
Saturday, November 04, 2000; posted by Lisa

Our Roman homebase - next to the magnificent Pantheon.

The Pantheon, as it stands now, was erected between AD 119 and AD 128 and is still in use today. It was built as a temple to all gods, became a Christian church in AD 609, and now houses Raphael's tomb and those of two Italian kings. It was the only building I managed to see from the inside, shuffling around while Paris ran interference so that the crowds wouldn't knock me around. It's hard to get your mind to accept the fact that this has been a place of worship for more than 1800 years.

The dome/cupola of the Pantheon, which, until this century, was the largest in the world. It is a mathematical wonder as its diameter (142 feet) is equal to its height. The cupola's huge weight is sustained with an intricate system of relieving arches and by the use of light tufa and pumice stone at the top and heavy material, concrete, travertine, and brick at the bottom. An amazing amount of light shines through the hole in the dome.

The Pantheon at night... a beautiful sight! The inscription on the front translates, "M(arcus) Agrippa, son of Lucius, consul for the third time," although archeologists discovered that Hadrian, one of the most brilliant Roman emperors, had designed it after the old Pantheon burned down. Hadrian left the inscription.

Because of my injured back, this was mostly what I saw of Rome. We had a magnificent view of the Pantheon from our hotel room. It looks fake, like a poster on the wall, but the sounds and smells from the piazza below made it all very real. When I could stand, it was fun to lean on the sill and watch the activity below.