|The Pantheon in the light of the setting sun|
The main part of the building, the Rotonda, stands exactly as wide as it is high, 43.3 metres. The domed roof is the largest dome ever created out of concrete. The pronaos (or porch) is lined by sixteen columns made of Egyptian granite. The only source of natural light is the large oculus at the top of the dome, which is 9 metres in diameter and completely open; which means when it rains outside, it also rains inside the Pantheon. Originally, the interior of the Pantheon was designed so the light entering through the oculus would illuminate specific monuments to the gods at specific times of day.
|Sunlight streaming in through the oculus.|
Today the Pantheon houses several tombs, including that of King Vittorio Emanuele II, King Umberto I, Margherita di Savoia and painter Raphael. The inscription on Raphael's tomb is translated to read "Here lies Raphael: that Nature feared when alive, whilst he was dying, Nature fears herself may die".
If you are planning a trip to Rome and would like to stay close to this amazing structure, I would highly recommend the Hotel Abruzzi. The hotel sits along the piazza and has rooms with beautiful views of the Pantheon. It is a great central location to explore the many, many treasures this wonderful city has to offer.