Finding the Pantheon!

Trip Start Mar 15, 2012
Trip End Mar 31, 2012

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Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day 3 - late afternoon

With Michel as the navigator and bearer of the famous tourist map, we continued our little explorations of Ancient Rome as I kept telling him which attractions I wanted to visit next! You see, I had done my homework before coming here and knew exactly what I wanted to see and where I wanted to go!    Of course, all of these being possible only if we could find the places; after all I was following Michel!  Ha, ha, ha!  Actually, he did a good job at it!

It soon became apparent to me that in Ancient Rome, everything was within walking distance but in order to reach a specific site or place, you had to make your way along a maze of several side alleys all unique in their very own way and nicely decorated with little cafes and bouquet of flowers. 

Glancing way above me, along the way I admired several story high buildings dating several centuries or even more!  They gave me a wonderful feeling and proof that I was actually here in Italy and walking on these cobblestone streets in Ancient Rome where who knows might have walked here before me….I was thinking the likes of Michelangelo, Julius Caesar, etc….  Ha, ha, ha!

Talking about cobblestone streets, actually I was fine walking on these at the beginning but try doing it all day, by now my feet were hurting from stepping on these uneven stones!  Well, as they say no pain no gain….so I kept on walking!  Ha, ha, ha!

We finally arrived at the Piazza della Rotonda where a magnificent structure built more than two thousand years ago stood right in front of me.   Any guess?  

Well, let me tell you that I was very excited to finally be standing right in front of the Pantheon, this ancient building known to be the best preserved structure of all the Roman buildings!  I certainly wasn't deceived as I admired it from a distance while thinking about everyone before me who stepped foot here.  I was reliving 2000 years of civilization where so much had transpired since then!  The structure itself was originally built as a temple to all of gods of Ancient Rome but since the 7th century, it was used as a Roman Catholic Church!  Interesting fact!

Without wasting any more minutes, of course after Michel took many pictures of me standing in front of it as a proof that I WAS HERE kind of thing, ha,ha,ha, I quickly made my way inside this gigantic Pantheon where I felt like a little bug against its huge columns.  Michel wants me to say a big bug!   

The place was infested with tourists alike as I wandered around the inside of the Pantheon while admiring its huge dome way above me with an oculus (Latin word for eye) or circular window right in the middle of it!    

Reading a sign right next to me, I learned that the dome’s height and diameter were the same at 43.3 meters – 142 feet.  Also, an interesting fact that I learned was that even after two thousand years, the Pantheon’s dome was still recognized as being the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.  Hummmm!  After reading these facts, I hoped it wouldn’t collapse while I was here!  Ha, ha, ha! 

Taking the necessary time to walk all around the Pantheon’s interior, I was delighted to find the grave of the famous artist Raphael buried right here in the 16th century.  Many other graves of famous people lay here as well, but unfortunately, their names didn’t ring a bell! 

After spending more than half an hour here, it was now time to move on!  It was 4:30pm and I had other interesting sites on my agenda to visit today!

Monique   :-)
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