Bella Italia– Part Eight (the Pantheon)

If you can read Latin, then you will know that the inscription at the top of the Pantheon says that one Marcus Agrippa made it (in the second century A.D.). Today the temple with the hole in the roof is a church, and one of the most visited churches in all of Rome. There are periodic announcements to those milling around in the inside that they should be silent and respect the holiness of the place. Marcus Agrippa would have agreed, except he built this as a temple to ‘all gods’ (hence pan- theon) not to the one God of the Bible.

While I was there last month, a very special visitor showed up– Bebe Netanyahu and his entourage appeared to see the place. Yes, that’s the Head Knocker of Israel.

Here’s another good shot of the lentil over the door—

Here’s a shot of the high altar. This church is dedicated to Mary and various female saints.

Here is the oculus, or eye, or hole in the roof…… Interestingly, this is basically a round building with a square front porch.

Unlike many temples and churches in Rome, this one is in a cramped space. There is not a big square in front of it, and there are narrow streets on either side. It is near the Piazza Navona.

The building has a certain inherent allure, perhaps in part because its the only pagan temple that’s in this good a shape still today, thanks to the church preserving it for many centuries.
. There is something special about this space.

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