The Pantheon is Rome’s best preserved monument. And it is the only one in continuous use. It was a Roman temple dedicated to all (pan) the gods (theos). It was first built in 27BC by Emperor Augustus’ son-in-law (M. Agrippa) and completely rebuilt by Hadrian in 120AD. It’s dome was the model for St. Peter’s Dome.
The Pantheon was Christianized early in the middle ages – now instead of all the gods, it was dedicated to “all the martyrs”.
The dome is set on a circular base and is a tribute to perfection of Roman engineering. It is as high as it is wide (142 ft from floor to rooftop and from side to side). Many say that is why it is still standing. The walls are made of concrete which gets thinner as it rises…from 23 ft. to 5 ft. Michaelangelo studied the Pantheon before constrcting St. Peter’s dome.
There is a hole at the top 30 ft. wide to admit light and rain. There are drain holes in the floor and it slants towards the edges.
The artist Raphael is buried here.