Let there be light! Through this massively gaping hole, summer was infiltrating the cool granite dome. Indeed, you haven’t seen Rome if you’ve never been to the Pantheon. This gaping hole right at the center of the majestic relic is what we call the oculus at the dome’s apex, which allows the only natural sources of light into the Pantheon. In a reverse sundial effect, light coming from the oculus moves around the interior of the grand space.
Whilst a large part of Rome still lay in ruins, the Pantheon is one of the best preserved and well-restored relics from the ancient times. Since the Renaissance the Pantheon has been used as a tomb, with two kings of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I, as well as Umberto’s Queen, Margherita, buried in the precinct. Famed painters Raphael Sanzio da Urbino and Annibale Carracci, composer Arcangelo Corelli, and architect Baldassare Peruzzi are also amongst those who would rest eternally within the dome, which in the present day is being used as a church, for weddings as well as masses.
The Pantheon is circular with a portico of 16 large granite Corinthian columns. Two thousand years after its existence came into being, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. Impressive, isn’t it?