Italy 500BC-400AD-Ancient times Europe Archaeological sites, ancient temples

Pantheon, Rome: Temple of All the Gods

Pantheon, Rome, Holiday and Trips, Living life like a holiday
Pantheon, Rome
Rome's Pantheon, the Temple of All the Gods, is a shining symbol of Roman ingenuity, a two-millennia-old architectural gem with a grand dome that continues to inspire admiration for its craftsmanship and durability.

Tourist Information

Type Ancient temple
Year 126 AD
Getting there Lines 30, 70, 81, 87. Stop at Rinascimento.
Lines 62, 83, 85, 160, 492. Stop at Corso/Minghietti.
Visiting HoursDaily – 9 AM – 7 PM (last entry at 6.45 PM)
TicketsMax 5 Euros.
Reservation is required.
Official website
LocationPiazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM, Italy, Europe


Why is the Pantheon in Rome famous?

The Pantheon in Rome is one of the oldest man-made buildings in the world still standing and in use.

The Pantheon is the only ancient Roman temple with a dome that has survived to this day. This fact makes it a unique attraction in the world and an outstanding example of the ingenuity and skill of the Roman builders.

Pantheon, Rome, Holiday and Trips, Ancient temple
Pantheon, Rome

The Pantheon is known for its amazing and innovative architecture.

The dome is characterized by a circular opening called the oculus and is supported by thick walls and marble columns.

The original purpose of the Pantheon was to serve as a temple dedicated to all the gods and goddesses of the Roman pantheon. In the Middle Ages, the Pantheon was transformed into a Christian church, dedicated to Saint Mary and the Martyrs, contributing to its preservation. It functioned as a church for several centuries.

The 16-column facade of the Pantheon is typical of a temple.

When was the Pantheon built and who built it?

The Pantheon was built in 126 AD under the emperor Hadrian.

Originally, the temple was built by Marcus Agrippa between 27-25 BC to celebrate the victory over Antony and Cleopatra, but in 80 AD it burned completely, being completely rebuilt by Hadrian in 125 AD .Hr., with an architectural design unique in those times.

What is the meaning of the name “Pantheon”?

The name “Pantheon” comes from the Greek language and means “all deities” or “all gods”. The original purpose of the Pantheon was to serve as a temple dedicated to all the gods and goddesses of the Roman pantheon.

How was the construction of this dome possible in antiquity?

The dome of the Pantheon is spherical in shape with a diameter of 43.3 meters and is one of the largest reinforced concrete domes in the ancient world. Its construction was made possible by the technical innovation of using concrete, a revolutionary building material at the time.

The materials used in the construction of the Pantheon include concrete, marble, and various types of stone. Most of the materials were brought from various regions of the Roman Empire.

Roman concrete was composed of a type of volcanic ash, called pozzolana, with superior properties of lime and pumice aggregate in concrete, much lighter than cement.

The 16 massive Corinthian columns weigh 60 tons each. They were made in Egypt and transported to Rome by ship. Those who transported them on the Nile took advantage of the rising water level during the spring floods and then the columns were transferred to ships that were to cross the Mediterranean at the port of Ostia. There, they transferred them back to the barges and hauled them up the Tiber River to Rome. The columns are topped by a triangular pediment with an inscription attributed to Marcus Agrippa (“M•AGRIPPA•L•F•COS•TERTIUM•FECIT” the meaning of the inscription is “Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, during his third consulship, built this”).

What is the significance of the eye (oculus) in the middle of the dome?

The eye (oculus) in the middle of the Pantheon’s dome is a circular opening about 8.2 meters in diameter that allows light and rain to enter. It also has a symbolic function, symbolizing the connection between the temple and the sky.

The oculus is the only source of light inside.

Pantheon, Rome, Holiday and Trips, Oculus
Oculus, Pantheon, Rome

Researchers from Milan and New Zealand investigated how light enters the Temple. They claim that the Romans built the Pantheon almost 2,000 years ago so that the sun’s rays could illuminate the entrance only when the king entered the temple during the day that marks the March and September equinoxes and April 21, the day when the Romans celebrated the city, the date Rome was founded.

It is the best-preserved Roman temple and the largest ancient building in the world with the original roof intact. Although the identity of the architect remains uncertain, many attribute the Pantheon to Apollodorus of Damascus.

What personalities are buried in the Pantheon?

Several notable personalities are buried in the Pantheon, such as Raphael, one of the greatest painters of the Renaissance. Also here are the tombs of Italian kings and poets.

The Pantheon Fountain

In front of the Pantheon, there is a fountain called the “Pantheon Fountain.” This fountain was designed in 1575 by the architect Giacomo Della Porta. However, in 1711, Pope Clement XI asked for some changes to be made to the fountain. Filippo Barignoni was the architect responsible for the redesign. The new design included a stone basin and an Obelisk of Ramses II placed in the center on a plinth with four dolphins at the base.

Pantheon, Rome, Holiday and Trips
Pantheon, Rome

What legends does the Pantheon in Rome have?

The legend of the Devil and the moat around the Pantheon?

Around the Pantheon in Rome, there is a moat or ditch called “Agrippa’s Ditch” or “Hadrian’s Ditch”, which is surrounded by a marble platform and which has caused interest and speculation.

One of the moat’s possible purposes is to collect rainwater and prevent flooding around the Pantheon. Water collected in the moat could have been directed into the Roman sewer systems to prevent water from pooling around the temple. Another possible reason is that the ditch was used to collect rainwater for the use of nearby temples.

Legend has it that one day a man made a pact with the Devil. In exchange for a magic book, the man would have sold his soul to the Devil. But, apparently, the man wanted to trick the Devil and after receiving the book, he took refuge in the Pantheon, which was a Christian church at the time. The devil could not enter a sacred place and ran angrily around the Pantheon, waiting for the man to come out. In his run, the Devil created moat after moat around the Pantheon.

The Legend of the Demons of the Pantheon and the Oculus

As the Pantheon is linked to the ancient Roman civilization which, in the centuries following the fall of the Empire, was a concrete symbol of the Evil in the land, the building, during the Middle Ages had a very bad reputation. Demons were believed to live in it! A monument to evil, an evil that needs to be removed, some people want it torn down.

Pope Boniface IV, who had the honor of receiving the building as a gift from Emperor Phocas, understood the importance of the construction and performed an exorcism ritual before opening the Pantheon’s bronze doors for the first time. It is said that at the moment the doors were opened the demons came out, fleeing and freeing the monument forever.

But, according to legend, a very large demon was locked inside and could not get out the door. How did he get out? It simply flew through the dome, leaving behind a perfectly circular hole that still captivates millions of people today!

The Legend of the Eye in the Dome

According to a strange but popular legend, it seems that when it rains, the water drops cannot reach the ground, because of the internal temperature of the Pantheon which would evaporate before they hit the ground. This legend remains only a legend because it is easy to see that when it rains the floor gets wet. The ancient Romans found a solution to prevent the Pantheon from being flooded every time it rains harder. On the floor, just below the eye, there are small holes. They serve to drain the water under the floor from where the water drains through some underground tunnels. The floor is even slightly concave, to allow water to flow better into the underground galleries. In this way, the water drains quickly and never accumulates on the floor of the Pantheon.

About the author


I am Catalina, and my passion for travel, mysteries, legends and archaeology drives me to explore the world and uncover its hidden wonders.