10 Fascinating facts about the Pantheon in Rome
hero background

Things To Do

10 Fascinating facts about the Pantheon in Rome

Many temples were built throughout the Roman Empire, and one has been continually in service for the last 2,000 years. The Pantheon has stood solid and become a national monument in the city of Rome. It’s a must for first-time visitors to take a Pantheon tour. 

Many people who plan to visit the Pantheon in Rome always try their best to take a Pantheon guide or a Skip the line & flexible Pantheon ticket along with a Pantheon audio tour for a memorable experience. Roman architectural skill and dedication to religion have been shown by the Pantheon.

Built as a majestic temple honoring the Roman pantheon's collective spirits, this famous building has stood the test of time and drawn tourists for more than 1,800 years. The Pantheon, with its magnificent dome, symbolic oculus, and precise design, never fails to astonish with its miracles of engineering and creative magnificence.

What is meant by Pantheon? 

The Greek terms “pan” and “Theon”, which signify all the Gods, are the source of the Pantheon's meaning. The Pantheon was essentially devoted to all the gods. The first two structures of the temple were destroyed by fire, leaving only the third version of the Pantheon that is visible in Rome today.

The solitary remnant of the earlier temple is the inscription "M. Agrippa L. F. cos. tertium fecit," which reads, "Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, consul for the third time, built this." Marcus Agrippa, a Roman consul, architect, son-in-law, and advisor to Emperor Augustus, built the latter in 27 BCE.

We may never discover all the hidden secrets or mysteries of the ancient Pantheon, but we can share some 10 most fascinating facts about the Pantheon. So, One, two, three… Let’s go.

10 Fascinating facts about the Pantheon

Kings are buried in the Pantheon 

Between 1861 and 1871, Sardinian King Vittorio Emmanuelle effectively brought all of Italy's smaller kingdoms together to establish one enormous country. He belonged to the prestigious Savoia family, which was founded in the year 1003. Even though their titles are not acknowledged, their family still has successors today.

The legendary Giuseppe Garibaldi successfully told Emmanuel's troops to unite the peninsula under his power. While some sub-kingdoms merged amicably, others were forced to do so. The battle of Castelfidardo, when Garibaldi fought and defeated the papal army, was the last destination. To us now, the thought of the Catholic church controlling soldiers is quite alien.

After passing away in 1878, Victor Emmanuel II passed away at the Pantheon. "Father of the Fatherland," or Padre della Patria, is written on his tomb. It is a mystery that he was permitted to be buried here.

After Emmanuel captured Rome, Pope Pius IX declined to meet with him and never recognized his rule. Then he permitted him to be interred within the Catholic Pantheon. The same mausoleum holds the remains of Umberto I, the second and final King of Italy, and a Savoia. 

Through a proper Pantheon guide, people visiting the ancient building can get to know more details about this historic site during the Pantheon tour. Or else, you can also book a Rome: Self-Guided Tour Discovery Pack that includes iconic landmarks such as the Colosseum, St Peter's Basilica, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Piazza Navona.

Pantheon walls are thick 

The Pantheon's enormous walls are among its most amazing features. As you would imagine, building something as large and lasting as the Pantheon requires a rather strong foundation.

To withstand the pressure of the dome, they also had to build walls 20 feet (6 meters) thick. This is because pressure is applied outward rather than only downward when building a dome.

Even if it's difficult to see now, there are some spots within where you can catch a glimpse during your Pantheon tour. You may get a good indication of the real thickness of the walls by comparing the original brick to other areas of the interior.

The Pantheon was the largest dome in the world for 1300 years

For 1300 years, the Pantheon was thought to have the largest dome in the world since it is a single structure with walls that seamlessly flow into the roof. At 43.3 meters in diameter compared to St. Peter's Basilica's 41.47 meters, it is even bigger.

Then, in 1436, the palm was given to him after the Florence church was finished.

The architect once mandated the use of distinct materials for the Pantheon's foundation and dome to assemble the full structure of the dome.

As a result, the building material gets lighter as the walls rise. Pumice and tuff replace brick and concrete, and the oculus itself considerably reduces the structure's weight. The Pantheon's walls had to be incredibly nearly six meters thick to support such a weight.

Even yet, the Pantheon is still regarded as the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome, if not the biggest in total. By taking a detailed Pantheon guide, you will learn this and more things about the place. Also, a Pantheon audio tour would be great if you want to know about the history of the Pantheon.

Bronze was used to cover the Pantheon.

The Pantheon's dome was intended to be the focal point of the city during construction and needed to be seen from all directions. As a result, copper sheets that glinted in the sunlight were used to cover the dome. But these sheets were eventually taken down during the Middle Ages, even by the Romans themselves. 

Thus, the most well-known instance of this was the incident related to Pope Urban VIII, a member of the affluent Barberini family. In 1631, he issued an order to remove sheets from the Pantheon so that the Vatican could cast cannons from them. He made the observation, "What the Barberini did, the Barbarians did not do" (quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt Barberini).

The oculus never closes and is completely glass-free.

The Pantheon's sole light source is a circular aperture in the ceiling that measures 8.2 meters in diameter and is referred to as the Oculus. There is a gap here that needs to be filled. 

It is interesting to note that on April 21, the day Rome was founded, at exactly noon, a sunbeam fell right at the entrance to the Pantheon, where the emperor arrived. Consecrated from all sides by the sun's dazzling glow, the ruler's entry inside the city's main temple, so to speak, further highlighted his status as the gods' chosen one.

Rain can naturally enter a building through an open window in the ceiling.

However, this particular spot was also carefully considered during construction. Underneath the oculus, 22 tiny holes were drilled in the marble floor to serve as a drainage system and prevent the water in the space from standing still.

Rose petals cover the Pantheon on Pentecost Eve each year.

Thousands of rose petals are released from the Pantheon's oculus every May on the Christian feast of Pentecost, and regardless of your religious beliefs, this is one of the most spectacular and much-anticipated events on Rome's cultural calendar. The petals flutter and twist in the air before descending slowly to the temple's floor.

The petals are meant to represent the Holy Spirit's descent upon Christ's apostles following his death when they were miraculously bestowed with the ability to communicate in every language in the world to support them in their apostolic task of bringing the gospel to every person.

The Pantheon was converted into a Christian church

Initially, it could appear to be an awful act of cultural vandalism: in 609 AD, Pope Bonifacio IV oversaw the consecratory procedures that destroyed the Pantheon's venerable history and standing as the most august landmark in antiquity in favor of a Christian church. Even now, the temple is formally known as the Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyres.

The Pantheon's conversion turned out to be its salvation, and this accounts for its amazing survival until this day. Since the Pantheon was founded as a Christian church, it was spared from the ravages of time and greed, allowing us to appreciate it as much now as when it was first constructed in 125 A.D. Over the centuries, other ancient buildings were carelessly destroyed, vandalized, and devastated.

There Could Have Been an Error on the Outside

You may see several pedestals supported by Corinthian columns when you look at the facade of the Pantheon's front entrance.

Compared to the other pediments, one is significantly out of alignment. Some people theorize that this was done on purpose, while others think that the designers ran out of full-sized columns during construction and had to make do with shorter ones.

The columns are made of a single, solid stone.

During your Pantheon audio tour, you might also learn that every column is made of a single stone chunk. It was very popular in the past to construct columns from numerous marble or stone slabs stacked so densely that it was nearly impossible to tell they weren't all one piece. These columns are 48 feet (15 meters) high and made entirely of one single block of stone!

How in the world did they transport the columns to Rome, considering that they would have originated in Egypt? It would take several months to transfer them by ship across the turbulent Mediterranean Sea.

A hole is present in the Pantheon dome 

The moment you go inside, your eyes will be drawn to the dome above you. We can't be angry since so many people stop at the entrance, which causes traffic jams. That was the exact impact the architect would have wished for. 

Rome's architecture, including the Pantheon, was primarily concerned with projecting the Romans' superiority. The Latin term for the central aperture is oculus, which translates to "eye." When the doors are closed, rain and other outside factors do not enter the building. 

The floor will be sloping toward the center, and there will be drains to let water out of the building. The interior of the oculus has a bronze ring, and each of the 140 coffers probably had ornamental metal fixtures. The temple would have been illuminated throughout by natural light if it had had such an aperture in the center.


Every year, millions of tourists take the Pantheon tour. one of the most popular tourist destinations—Rome's most recognizable landmark due to its architectural splendor, cultural significance, and historical significance.

The Pantheon's magnificent dome, amazing interior, and opportunity to learn about its fascinating history all entice visitors. They like to take the Pantheon guide or Pantheon audio tour for a lifetime experience while visiting the historic place. It continues to be a timeless representation of Roman engineering and creativity.

Related Blogs

The World At Your Fingertips.

Experience what it's like to Discover the world with the Vox City App.

Discover the worldDiscover

Exclusive discounts and travel inspiration

Weekly in your inbox, daily in your feed


Follow us