If you want a breathtaking Vino con Vista, visit the Pantheon in Rome. The majestic Pantheon is the Church of Santa Maria ad Martyres located on the Piazza della Rotonda.
This is my favorite area to stay in because it is packed with restaurants and bars and has a very lively nightlife. I can never get enough of that gorgeous ancient Pantheon. Conceived as a temple to all gods by Agrippa. It suffered from fire damage in 80 and was restored by the emperors Domitian and Trajan. It inspired Michelangelo’s design for the cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Over the centuries, it has served as an imperial reception area, a court of law, a mausoleum for Italy’s royals and artists. It has been a church since 609.
Here’s a brief history and some interesting facts about this magnificent structure:
1. The first Pantheon was constructed by Marcus Agrippa between 27-25 B.C.
3. The only light that enters the circular building is through a hole in the center of the coffered dome called the “oculus”. Around noon, sunlight enters and sets aglow the extraordinary space. The sloping floor drains the rainwater that may enter from the oculus.
4. The building was constructed from a new material of the time called concrete, which was invented after the devastating fire in Rome of 64 to comply with the new fireproofing ordinances.
5. The ornate marble inlaid floor is sloped slightly so that rainwater would be able to drain from inside the building.
7. To support the heavy dome, the walls are 19 feet thick. Ever-smaller coffers and walls become progressively thinner and reduce the downward thrust of the dome’s weight while redirecting the mechanical stress placed on the foundation.
8. The Rotonda’s height and width are the same – 140 feet.
9. The original portico built by M. Agrippa remain and is built on the foundation of the original temple.
10. There were twin bell towers added on each side of the portico but they were removed in 1883.
11. The interior walls are lined with tombs, including Raphael and King Vittorio Emanuele II.
12. When the Papacy moved to Avignon between 1305-1377, the Pantheon was used as a poultry market and fortress.
13. In 1632, Urban VIII had the bronze from the portico anddome melted down to provide Bernini the bronze with which to build the baldacchino in St. Peter’s Basilica.
14. Concerts are also held here from time to time.
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Italy Travel Guides @ http://www.vino-con-vista.com