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Friday, July 6, 2012

Italy Day 7: Pantheon

We hopped off the bus where the random teenager kid told us to (thankfully he was honest!). We walked down a little bit and then saw the MASSIVE building to the right of us...we made it to the Pantheon! I couldn't even begin to fit the whole thing in a picture (this is the side of the building).
This poem was outside the door of the entrance, love it!
I'm going to straight up copy word for word what my Frommer's guide says about the Pantheon (Btw I should probably give the guide a true credit, I've used it in almost every post for info on the places we visited and we used it CONSTANTLY on our trip, the book we used was Frommer's Italy Day by Day Guide. Highly recommend it!!!):

"Pantheon is hands down the most masterful architectural feat of ancient Rome. It is almost perfectly preserved. The porch consists of 16 monolithic Egyptian granite columns, weighing 82 tons each. Inside the 44m wide (143 feet) dome, poured in concrete in the 120s AD and never structurally modified - is pierced by a 9m wide (30 feet) oculus, open to the sky. While most ancient buildings lost their marbles to the popes, the Pantheon's floor and brick walls retain their rich revetment of yellow marble and purple porphyry."

Dome ceiling

alter
It's true, it was AMAZINGLY well preserved!


You can sort of get an idea of the massive height
Chapel of the Annunciation

Tomb of Victor Emanuel II
(first king of Italy from 1820-1878)
Zach couldn't get over the fact that there was an open hole in the ceiling. He kept talking about drainage issues and how it was possible...then we found a sign that talked about the ancient floor :) It said that the floor was made of red marble from Egypt, white marble blotched with blue from Asia Minor and red-veined yellow marble from Numidia. It had a concave center which is convex at the sides with a drainage system for the removal of the water. Question answered :)

You can kinda see the slope here
High Alter

Tomb of Raphael

After Raphael's death in 1520 his body was transferred to the Pantheon immediately. The Madonna del Sasso (statue on top) is by Raphael's student, Lorenzetto, and is dated 1523-1524. In 1833 the grave was actually opened to verify the body's existence. The body was found and the inscription was then given to it which reads "Here lies Rapheal, by whom Nature feared to be outdone while he lived, and when he died, feared that she herself would die."
Tomb of King Humbert I
(second king of Italy from 1844-1900)
and of Margherita Savoia
(queen of Italy from 1851-1926)
This statue depicts Saint Joseph with Christ as a child
We assumed this read "Jesus"?

As we were finishing up looking at everything they announced they were closing. Perfect timing or whhhhat?!?! And you should have seen all the people outside trying to come in when they shut it down! I'm sure it happens ALL the time. Like I mentioned before, 7:30 is really when people start going out to eat and such...it's a pretty early time to be closing a major landmark down.

Front view


The horse and buggy behind me reminds me of a little story from our Colosseum visit. Remember how I said the bus system was crazy confusing? Well we saw a horse and buggy parked nearby and Zach asked them how much it would cost to ride it from there to the Pantheon. We did the whole carriage ride thing at Central Park in NYC on our honeymoon (we did a 24 hour stay in NYC and literally did IT ALL in the time period...I need to blog about that someday...we were hardcore!) and it's a romantic thing to do. We thought it'd be a nice way to end the trip and it'd get us where we needed to be. Um. The guy wanted to charge us $120 EUROS which is a lot more in US dollars. No thanks! We stuck with our free bus ride :)

Anyways...back to the Pantheon. I don't know if the pictures of it really do it justice in the SLIGHTEST bit. We loved it. I would say St. Peter's and the Pantheon were two of our favorite buildings. It was really, really awesome. Again, just seeing something SO OLD still be so beautiful was incredible. Seeing old stuff never really got old on this trip ;)

After we got kicked out...we sat down at this fountain (the third obelisk I think we saw of the 13 total in Rome) and looked through all of our guide books to figure out where to eat dinner.
View of the front side of the Pantheon so you can see the curve

Square where we debated dinner choices
I'm not sure what place we decided on for dinner but we walked all over the place to find it and it ended up being a place where they served ONE meal option. It was a different one every night but you have no choice but to eat what they made that night. Yeah right. We aren't hardcore picky eaters...but we are pickier than that. So we walked next door and ate there. Not something we picked from a guidebook or a suggested list. Just a place that a lot of people walking around seemed to go to and we overheard a view mentioning how good it was.

We told the waiter we wanted a private table inside. We had pretty much eaten outside at every meal on our trip and it was our last night so we wanted to be a little more romantic. We got seated in this lovely room all by ourselves!
And then two seconds later a loud, obnoxious tour group came in and filled up most of the other tables haha. And soon after an older gay couple sat down right next to us. Like our legs would be touching if I spread eagle...it was awkward. Not because they were older or gay, but because they were American. Haha. So they spoke English and so did we and it was obvious they were trying to have a romantic dinner...and so were we but yet it was impossible b/c we were just too close. I wasn't trying to listen to their conversation but I had no choice but to hear everything they said and they had no choice but to hear everything we said yet none of us every spoke to each other. I think none of us wanted to talk because we really were attempting to keep the mood romantic and you know talking to random people totally kills a romantic mood! So it was an awkward dinner...

We were STARVING though (remember...all we had to eat was those sandwiches at our lunch at like 11:30 and it was after 8 at this point) so we didn't care about the mood or the setting or who was where. We just wanted to EAT. For the first time we both ordered multiple courses :) Go big before you go home right?

Zach's first course: Some waaaaay too peppered pasta. I didn't care. My mouth was on fire it was so peppery but I tore that junk up.
My first course: Gnocchi pasta. I'd never heard of gnocchi but it's like little potatoes I think?  Zach and I LOVED it. I don't know if it's b/c we were just starving or if it was actually that amazing, but when we came home I actually bought some to try to cook from Publix ;)
Second course: some type of spaghetti I think? I don't remember even trying his...I just REALLY liked mine :)
Mine had artichoke in it. I LOVE me some artichoke...it was YUMMY!!!
We took our time and savored each bite of our last main Italian meal. Thankfully, it was also GOOD :) We weren't too impressed with the service but just getting to sit down was a nice treat after such a long day...and it wasn't even over yet! ONE last Italy post to go!!!!!!

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