The Pantheon

An important inspiration for the greatest architects of the Italian Renaissance, including Michelangelo who called it a project of the angels and Raphael who wanted to be buried inside, the Pantheon is a symbol of the Eternal City, located in Piazza della Rotonda. Built initially in 27 BC. at the behest of Marco Vipsanio Agrippa (son-in-law and collaborator of Emperor Augustus), this temple was dedicated to the seven planetary divinities, to whom it owes its name – Pantheon in Greek means “of all the Gods,” but it was destroyed by a fire. Rebuilt by the Emperor Hadrian between 118 and 125 AD, the temple was rotated by 180 degrees from its original position and a large-arcaded square was added. In 609 AD, the Pantheon was donated by the Byzantine Emperor Foca to Pope Boniface IV who consecrated it, dedicating it to Santa Maria and the Martyrs. The Pantheon is still today a basilica where Christian worship is celebrated and is open to visitors.