The Pantheon and the Piazza della Rotonda in Rome

The Pantheon in Rome, Italy was originally built by Agrippa and rebuilt by Hadrian in 126 AD.  Its name derives from the idea that it was a temple to all the gods, but that conclusion is not certain.  It was converted to a Christian church by Pope Boniface IV who dedicated it to St. Mary and the Martyrs.  The Pantheon is still used as a Catholic church today.

The Pantheon boasts the largest unreinforced concrete dome.  A single opening in the center of the dome, the oculus, is the only opening for natural light in the structure.  As the sun moves across the sky above the Pantheon, the light shining through the oculus travels like the beam of a powerful searchlight around the interior of the Pantheon.

Outside the Pantheon, in Piazza della Rotonda, stands an obelisk that was originally constructed by Ramses II in Heliopolis.  It is now crowned with a cross as well as the mountains and star of Pope Clement XI.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon

SOURCE:  The Pantheon (Rome, Lazio, Italy); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 12 August 2011.

The Oculus of the Pantheon

The Oculus of the Pantheon

SOURCE:  The Oculus of the Pantheon (Rome, Lazio, Italy); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 12 August 2011.

The Light from the Oculus

The Light from the Oculus

SOURCE:  The Light from the Oculus (Rome, Lazio, Italy); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 12 August 2011.

The Obelisk in the Piazza della Rotonda

The Obelisk in the Piazza della Rotonda

SOURCE:  The Obelisk in the Piazza della Rotonda (Rome, Lazio, Italy); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 12 August 2011.

Copyright © 2011 by Stephen J. Danko

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