Welcome to the Pantheon, the marvel of ancient Roman engineering. Prior to the Renaissance, what you’re looking at is the largest dome in the world.
And frankly, even more than the rest of Rome, THIS put me in awe. It doesn’t look like much from the outside (concrete stained with soot from pollution), but the second you pass the doors, it’ll take your breath away.
Think – without calculus, or calculators, or modern machinery, they figured out to coffer the ceiling to reduce weight and install an open center. Mind the rain, though.
At one point it was converted to a church, and now is (more or less) a museum to Roman, Christian, and Italian heritage. Also, free admission! So it’s popular, and best to watch your wallet and camera gear.
This is the tomb of the first king of unified Italy, Vittorio Emmanuel II (bear in mind Italy was unified in the late 1800s, so this part isn’t all that ancient).
And here’s the tomb of everyone’s favorite Ninja Turtle, Raphael!
Oops, I mean “fantastic Renaissance painter” Raphael. My bad. Also a super-disappointing photograph for me. There was an obnoxious crowd and bad reflections and funky contrast, and PS didn’t do jack for me. Sigh. Must mean I have to go back to Rome (again, sigh).
PS – don’t think to lie on the ground in the center of the building to get a wider angle on the ceiling, unless you want to get scolded by security like I did. Really, we photographers are far worse than children.
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