PANTHEON, PRESENTATION

Audio File length: 2.29
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, I'm James, your personal guide. Together with MyWoWo, I'd like to welcome you to one of the wonders of the world.

Today I'll accompany you through the Pantheon, which is one of the most majestic places in Rome!

As you walk around the Pantheon, or the "temple of all gods", let me tell you some of the history of this ancient monument that's also the best preserved of the entire Eternal City.

The original building was constructed in 27 BC by the son-in-law of Augustus, the first emperor of Rome; it was a small, rectangular temple that was destroyed by a fire about a century later. It was rebuilt and again damaged by lightning, after which Emperor Hadrian had it rebuilt from scratch. The architect used the materials of the old temple and placed the pre-existing sixteen Egyptian granite columns in two rows to create the portico in front of the façade, on which he left the inscription bearing the name of the first founder, Agrippa.

You should imagine the pediment and portico covered with golden bronze, as they were until the 1600s when Pope Urban VIII decided to remove the gilding, melt it, and reuse it for the great baldachin in St. Peter's Basilica.

Now go inside the large circular hall, whose height is equal to its diameter: 43.3 meters. Admire the seven large niches in the lower part of the walls, but above all, take in the huge dome that is a true masterpiece of Roman engineering! It is decorated with five rows of square niches called "cassettoni", and each row has 28 of these squares, whose size narrows in a fascinating optical effect all the way up to the large circular window on top. Don't forget to admire the colored marble floor either: it's the original flooring and is almost two thousand years old!

In the 7th century the Pantheon was named St. Mary and the Martyrs and was dedicated to the Madonna, which helped in its preservation. It is one of the most imitated buildings in the history of architecture, from the Renaissance to Neoclassicism.

 

FUN FACT: the stones used to build the Pantheon are colossal, in fact some of them weighed as much as 90 tons. But Emperor Hadrian spared no expense, and had them brought in directly from Egypt!

And with this we have finished our tour of the Pantheon in Rome. MyWoWo thanks you for staying with us, and will see you at the next Wonder of the World!

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