Built a few years before the birth of Christ by Marcus Agrippa in honor of Augustus, it was then restructured under Hadrian ( around 120 AD ), the Pantheon is the most imposing and complete building surviving from antiquity. It is so well preserved because from 609 AD it was converted into a church dedicated to the Madonna and therefore cherished by the pontiffs. It is complex because it mixes varying geometrical shapes ( square, sphere, cylinder ) and because it fuses two architectural styles: that typical of the temples ( the pronaos ) and the round plan characteristic of the thermal baths. A cylindrical wall, six meters thick, supports the dome.
The dome is 43.30 meters high and wide. It is the biggest vault ever made of masonry and is bigger even than St. Peter’s. In the center of the dome is an opening nine meters wide, the only source of light. Inside there is a great central niche of mauve marble, and six smaller niches around it in layered in multicolored marble; the interplay of their colors fill the temple with a haunting light. Many artists are buried here: Perin del Vaga, Annibale Carracci. Taddeo Zuccari and Raphael.
The Pantheon also contains tombs of members of the Savoy family, King Vittorio Emanuele II and King Umberto I.
Pantheon – Rome the only pagan temple in classical style