Monday, 12 January 2015

The Pantheon

Rome's most famous structure? It depends whom you ask. The colosseum, Saint Peters and the Spanish Steps certainly rank high on anyone's list. The Pantheon smokes them all. The temple (now a church) was built by Hadrian in AD 126 and stands as Rome's greatest, best preserved link to its ancient history.

Why so special? Any dome you've seen, from the Capitol to your fancy downtown hotel to modern sports arenas owes its gratitude to the Pantheon. It's still the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world and the height to the top of the dome and the diameter of the inner circle are exactly the same, an ideal mathematical cavity for a perfect sphere.

Where's the Pantheon? Like most of Rome, crammed into a neighborhood, there to surprise you upon approach.

Hello Pantheon.

Inside, a gorgeous mix or marbles in a welcoming space. Eyes drift up.... behold the amazing dome. The square spaces lining the dome capture the light from the oculus (top opening), creating a dance of shadows that add depth. Beyond clever.

Two more looks at the dome. The oculus is open to the sky. When it rains outside, it rains into the Pantheon. A rare snow would be a treat to witness, a column of white drifting down.

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