Architecture

The secrets of the Pantheon: myth or legend?

There are images that stop time, making it eternal. This is what only music, a work of art, a construction or a legend can do. Rome, in this sense, is the ultimate expression of the eternity of a monument. This is the case, for example, of the secrets of the Pantheon, one of the most visited icons in Rome.

Secretos del Panteón

But what are the secrets of the Pantheon? A place of such importance, in fact, hides stories inside.

In this case, it is not only its size that creates awe, but the harmony of all that weight, lightened by the touch of immortality assumed by its history, its location and its presence. 

Located just steps from Piazza Navona and Via del Corso, the building is a container of legends, curiosities and unsolved mysteries. As many photographs manage to capture, the niche at the top of the dome creates a mystical passageway to the sky. From that point, the light filters creating suggestive trajectories, difficult to tell and interpret, if not contemplating in first person the event that occurs.

The secrets of the Pantheon, what are they?

Built by Agrippa in the distant 27 BC, it suffered extensive damage during a fire that broke out in the city. One of the many of that historical period, which frequently struck the current capital of Italy.

Instead, it was the Emperor Hadrian who promoted its reconstruction, which was carried out in the form that has survived to the present day, inaugurating it approximately between 125 and 128. Famous and solemn, the great pronao consists of 16 columns of splendid gray and pink granite, both from Egypt, in addition, of course, to the majestic dome that dominates the circular structure.

Secretos del Panteón

Let’s start with the curiosities, we will reveal all the secrets of the Pantheon:

  • The dome of the Pantheon is, to date, the largest in the world made of unreinforced concrete.
  • The coffered ceilings of the dome are twenty-eight, a number that at the time was considered an expression of perfection, the result of the consecutive sum of the numbers 1+2+3+4+5+6+7. The coffers gradually shrink as they approach the top of the dome.
  • On April 21, the day of the birth of Rome, the sun penetrates perpendicularly inside the dome through the “hole” of nine meters in diameter, creating an evocative spectacle.
  • Most of the stories and beliefs about the Pantheon are related to the dome and its summit forum. Like, for example, the one according to which rain cannot fall inside it. The story remains a symbolic and fairy-tale phenomenon, denied by the fact that right on the floor, in correspondence with the niche at the top, several drainage holes have been placed for rainwater.
  • Among the legends, there is one that has its roots even in medieval times. According to popular belief, in fact, the moat that currently surrounds the Pantheon was not originally present, but it was the Devil himself who created it, seized by anger as he frantically circled around the monument, inside of which had taken refuge a magician, such a Pietro Bailardo, who had mocked him after giving him his soul.
  • Another legend that accompanies the history of the Pantheon is the one of the ghost that wandered inside. According to the stories, the spirit of Umberto I of Savoy, whose corpse rests just inside the Pantheon, looks towards the adjacent square. All this happened for the first time around the 1930s, exactly three decades after his departure from this world. According to legend, the former King of the Kingdom of Italy emerged from his tomb, approaching a petrified and terrified policeman on duty, delivering a message that has never been made public, and will remain so for centuries to come.

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