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The Pantheon just might take the award for the most superlatives in a number of fields.  It's the oldest building used as a Christian church.  The original pagan temple was built in 27 BC to mark the victory of the Roman fleet against the fleet of Antony and Cleopatra.  It was burned down several times but always promptly rebuilt.  It is the most complete ancient building in Rome.  It is the largest un-reinforced concrete dome in the world and many famous buildings throughout the western world were modeled after components of the Pantheon.



The only source of light in the building is the oculus, a 27-foot diameter opening at the top of the dome.  It is totally open.  The floor of the Pantheon is gently sloped to the middle to a drain to carry off rainwater.  The dome is 142 feet in diameter and 142 feet high, making it a perfect hemisphere.  The dome is made of un-reinforced concrete.



In 2010, the exterior was getting a cleaning, hence the scaffolding.  In it's youth it was much more elegant on it's exterior.  Over the centuries, architects of other Roman buildings often helped themselves.  The baldacchino in St. Peter's basilica is covered with bronze that formerly covered the outside of the Pantheon's dome.




Like most Roman basilicas, there's a fountain with an ancient Egyptian obelisk in the middle in the piazza out front.




You see these young people all over the airport and around the sites most frequented by tourists.  They all have their little electric chariots and usually speak English or something other than Italian.  They're put out to provide help to befuddled visitors.




And, of course, the ubiquitous background music provided for donations.




More Roman soldiers horsing around.  I think the soldier in red made arrangements for later in the evening with the lady in green.




The Pantheon still has its original doors but they're sheathed in bronze today.  Originally they were covered with gold.  They weigh 20 tons each.




The altar is opposite the entrance.  I missed getting a close-up picture of the brass icon above the altar.  It depicts Mary and Jesus and was one of the original furnishings in the 7th century AD when the Pantheon was made a Christian church.




The typical style of the two lower levels below the dome.




The grave of King Victor Emmanuel II, the "Father of the Fatherland."  The first king of a unified Italy.




I missed a lot of things, such as the identity of the occupant of this grave.  I've since learned that if you want to seriously study the Pantheon, the time to show up is at opening time at 8 a.m.'s overcrowded.




A side altar.




The grave of King Umberto I.




Below this memorial is the grave of the artist Raphael.  His bust is to the left of the center statue.




The main entrance doorway.




A statue of the Madonna and Child.




The main altar from the side.