Europe > Western Europe > Italy > The Roman Pantheon

The Roman Pantheon

By Paulina Sánchez |

The Roman Pantheon symbolizes the marvelous and vast cosmos that travelers traverse day to day.


When you travel to Rome you discover that in every corner there’s a sculpture, a column or a monument worth photographing. All around you a peculiar symbiosis between modernity with its uncountable motorcycles and pizza vendors, and past, with the countless remains of a classic era that seems to be suspended in time, develops.


Perhaps one of the most impressive buildings you’ll find in the Italian capital –apart from the Coliseum of course– will be Agrippa’s Pantheon, also known as the Roman Pantheon. It was built in the 2nd century AD and some time later, in the 7th century, it became the first pagan temple to be transformed into a Catholic church. Although this may not seem too relevant for many, travelers owe to this the fact that the building was preserved intact throughout history. Actually, it gained such relevance that it was chosen to house the tomb of both king Victor Manuel II and of the famous Renaissance painter Raphael, whose works, by the way, can be seen at another Roman touristic attraction: the Vatican Museum.


Standing before this monumental building’s façade, the first thing you’ll think about will be the architecture of classical Greek temples such as the Parthenon. However, when Agrippa planned the Pantheon’s construction, he specifically thought about details that would help represent Roman religious beliefs, which promoted the worship of different gods.

Firstly, walk among the entrance’s columns and think that this temple was the gods’ Roman abode, and that its architecture was meant to represent the synthesis between the heavens and Earth. That’s why as you enter the building you’ll find a wide round floor area enclosed by a dome.

Walk around the room while admiring the geometry of the building and then look up to find the oculus at the dome’s apex, that is, the wide opening that let’s light in and that represents the sun, during daylight, and the moon, at night, apart from serving as a monumental solar clock.

Another fun fact about this temple that’s so full of cosmological symbolism is that it faces north, the fixed point of the celestial sphere that helps determine the variations in the location of stars throughout the days, and that has helped travelers and adventures find their way for centuries.

We’re sure that after you visit Agrippa’s Pantheon you’ll be convinced that ancient Romans were masters in converting engineering and architecture into works of art.


The Pantheon is located in Piazza della Rotonda, between the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona; entrance is free and you can visit it Monday to Saturday from 8:00 to 19:30, and Sundays until 18:00.

If you can’t locate the Pantheon in touristic maps or you are lost in the city, DINKtravelers recommends asking the locals for the Rotonda (la Rotonna), the Pantheon’s popular nickname that also makes reference to the square where it’s located.


Inside the Pantheon you’ll find some frescos that were added in the 15th century. Our favorite: The Annunciation by Melozzo da Forli. You’ll find it in the first chapel at the entrance’s right.