See the capital’s best example of Roman architecture with a visit to the Pantheon. Walking from Piazza di Sant’Ignazio, head along the narrow Via del Seminario towards Piazza della Rotonda, where you’ll see the huge columns of the Pantheon appear in front of you.
Built in 125 AD by Emperor Hadrian, the Pantheon has stood in Rome for thousands of years. As you walk around the outside of the building you’ll be in awe of the huge domed roof, which stands at 43 metres tall and 43 metres wide. Originally built as a place to worship the classical Greek gods, the Pantheon became a church in the 7th century. Although the outside of the building has suffered some damage over the years, it’s impossible not to be impressed by this huge ancient structure.
As you step inside, the architecture becomes even more impressive. With no visible vaults holding up the dome, it’s the largest roof of its kind in the world. Sunshine streams into the church from a nine metre hole in the ceiling above, making the interior glow with natural light.
While inside the Pantheon, you can still see several original tombs, including the burial site of King Vittorio Emanuele II, King Umberto I and the Renaissance artist Raphael. After exploring the building, go back outside to the Piazza della Rotonda. Drink an espresso in one of the open-air cafés, and have a closer look at the square’s impressive fountain, Fontana del Pantheon, which has an Egyptian obelisk built on top. The gothic cathedral Santa Maria Sopra Minerva is also close by.