Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Pantheon

Yesterday we took an excursion to the Pantheon where we met Jozef. It was a beautiful day out. The Pantheon was originally a pagan temple to the 7 deities of the planets but became a Catholic church in the 7th century.

To get to the Pantheon we had to cross the Tiber River along the Victor Emmanuel II bridge.

Along the waterfront were a bunch of street vendors (illegally) selling their merchandise. As we passed by, a Carabinieri car passed by as well, causing the vendors to quickly scurry away and hide from the police. In this picture you can see them packing up their sheets full of items.

We approached the Pantheon from Piazza Minerva where this famous obelisk is. This is one of my favorites in Rome because of the elephant. The obelisk was brought back from Egypt by Diocletian and placed near the temple of Isis. After many centuries, Bernini carved the elephant base and the obelisk was placed on top. You can still see the hieroglyphics on the obelisk.

This is a shot of the Pantheon as we approached it from the back. Notice the buttresses built into the wall which help relieve weight from the monstrous dome.

This is another obelisk in the piazza in front of the Pantheon. It was built by Pharaoh Ramesses II and brought to Rome from Egypt

This is the front of the Pantheon. The portico is supported by 16 massive granite Corinthian columns. The Pantheon dates from 125 AD and has the distinction of being the largest unreinforced concrete dome in history.

At the top of the dome is a massive oculus or "eye'. The hole is 30 feet in diameter and creates a draft of air which keeps the interior of the Pantheon very cool, even in summer. When we went in, we immediately noticed how cool it was. The ceiling is coffered to reduce the weight of the dome.

Inside the Pantheon is the tomb of the great artist Raphael. There is a statue of the Madonna and Child above his tomb.

A detail of one of the Corinthian columns inside the Pantheon.

Philomena standing in front of the main altar in the Pantheon.

This is the tomb of King Umberto I.

The side altar of St. Joseph was very beautiful. In the center was a statue of him with the child Jesus.

And on the right side was a relief of the flight into Egypt.

After spending the day at the Pantheon we went back to the house where we spent the evening (until 11 pm hehehe) with Jozef playing music, discussing music, discussing lots of other things, and looking at pictures.


Erika said...

Very cool, guys! I don't have to send Isaiah to school for History now... I can just make him read your blog! awesome!!!

When are you guys coming home??? I need a margarita!!

Jordanus said...

nice pics

Barbaranne said...

So the Brits weren't the only ones to rip off a bunch of Egyptian relics... Cool for you guys!