21 July 2007

Rome | The Pantheon

July 6, 2007
Rome, Italy


Next stop on our walking your of Rome was the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II. We had no intentions of stopping there, but it was right around the corner and the last time I was in Rome at that monument, I had no idea what it was. Now I know and I am going to tell you.

Victor Emmanuel II, or Vittorio Emanuele II, was the first king of Italy. His monument is made of marble and is almost 500 feet wide - which explains why you have to go three blocks away to take a picture of it. The monument also houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, built after World War I. So the next time you see this building in a movie, (minus the scaffolding) you'll know it's important.

The Pantheon

From something historic and Italian, we went to something ancient and Greek. The Pantheon, or Πάνθεον, was a temple built to honor seven gods. Now it's a Christian church and tomb. Among those buried there are kings Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I. Wikipedia says the Pantheon is the best preserved building in Rome. I don't know how that could be verified but architecturally speaking, it's pretty cool.

The main area is round with an arched ceiling. That ceiling is pretty simple but I am always amazed at tall structures built before motorized cranes. Also, no one knows what kind of concrete was used. Assuming there's no metal reinforcement, modern concrete would crumble under its own weight. I say that qualifies as impressive.

Outside the Pantheon, there is a little plaza. We stood there for a few minutes, just being in Rome. We had already seen quite a bit -- and there was still a lot more to do -- but it was important to remember that a girl from Pennsylvania and a boy from North Dakota were enjoying the weekend after a cruise on the Mediterranean by hanging out in Rome. Life was good.