As Anthony Doerr says in his book Four Seasons in Rome…

“The vault of the Pantheon is made of concrete and has a diameter of 143 feet. The hole in the top, the oculus, is twenty-seven feet across. For thirteen centuries, it was the largest dome in the world. For nineteen centuries, it has resisted lightning strikes, and earthquakes and barbarians. But numbers, dimensions, facts – they come later. When you first see it, the Pantheon is about wonder. You walk through the gigantic doorway and your attention is sucked upward to a circle of sky. A filtering haze floats inside; a column of light strikes through the oculus and leans against the floor. The space is both intimate and explosive: your humanity is not diminished in the least, and yet simultaneously the Pantheon forces you to pay attention to the fact that the world includes things far greater than yourself. “

The Pantheon is the oldest continually used structure in the world.  Anthony Doerr stated that the oculus was twenty-seven feet across; however, we were told it is actually thirty feet across. Both numbers are hard to believe while standing under it and looking skyward.  Then when looking directly below you can see a slight indent where the elements have aged the floor beneath the oculus and one is in awe of how it has stood the test of time.  While touring the hall you can see one section where the gold still remains intact and you can then image what the dome would have looked like in all its glory before it was stripped down to the concrete so that St Peter’s could be decked out in the honey-colored hues of gold.  To fully appreciate the majesty of this ancient building on must see it in all seasons and all light of day.  What a wonderful adventure to look forward too.


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