The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, now a church, located in Rome, Italy. Because the Pantheon was turned into a church, it was kept remarkably well preserved. There is no fee to enter and go back in time.
The dome remains to this day, the single largest, unreinforced concrete dome in the entire world. It is about 142 feet in diameter.
One fact I came across, and did not know myself, is that when it rains, the water disappears in 22 almost invisible holes in the floor! The rain comes through the oculus which is the opening of the dome and the source of light for the Pantheon. It is about 8.8 meters in diameter. In addition, during the day the light coming through the oculus and moves around the inside of the Pantheon in a reverse sundial effect.
The other interesting fact I found out is that the current building is not the original Pantheon. It is the third version as the first one was built in about 27 B.C., but burned down; the second, built in the 1st century A.D., also burned down. The building we see today is the third building. The original was also built facing south not north as is the current building.
Renaissance Painter, Raphael
Most people know that Raphael, the famous Renaissance painter, is buried inside the Pantheon. What many don’t know is that Maria Bibbiena, his fiancée, is as well and right next to him. In 1514, Raphael became engaged to Maria, the niece of a powerful cardinal. He put off the marriage for six years (while having a love affair with the daughter of a local baker) until it was too late for Maria, who died. Raphael died not long after Maria at the age of 37.
It is said that Michelangelo who was not easily impressed by many things yet he described the Pantheon as “angelic and not human design.”