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June 24, 2006

We made it!  It was beautiful and crowded and just an amazing sight.  We climbed a few steps the get a good shot.

Ah, now I knew we were there, as the ugly red brick gave way to columns and beauty.

The ceiling was a masterpiece of engineering, a huge dome that just floats atop the walls.

Too bad it was not raining.  All the guide books talked about how cool it was to see the rain fall in through the hole in the ceiling and disappear in drains hidden in the floor.

The walls contained many niches that were empty.

They do hold Mass in the Pantheon.

It was crowded for awhile, then the crowds would lighten up...

You have to be pretty special to be entombed here.

The Pantheon started off as a pagan temple honoring all gods. At some point an emperor gave it to the Vatican and they remade it as a tribute to the Virgin Mary's life.

What a huge bronze door! 

Imagine how tall it is - can you just see the tops of the people's heads near the bottom of the photo?

See the columns in the lower right corner of this photo?  You are looking up inside the portico of the Pantheon.  It was so unattractive, it caught our attention as we left.  Later, in St Peter's Basilica, we heard that the bronze that used to form a decorative ceiling here was taken (by order of a Pope) and used to finish the main altar in the basilica.

Another photo of the inside of the portico, with no decorative ceiling.

We're peeking out amongst the Pantheon's columns, to see the surrounding buildings.


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