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Famous Monument in Rome Is About to Start Charging
With the exception of churches, free entrance to any ancient site or famous monument in Rome is rare. There are few places in the eternal city that don’t charge an entrance fee and there is about to be one less. Currently, you don’t have to hand over euros to take a peek inside the Pantheon but that will be changing soon.
According to The Local, an Italian press agency, the Culture Minister, Dario Franceschini, has announced that plans are holding to introduce an entrance fee for the Pantheon. The new fee is in response to operational costs associated with keeping the Pantheon open to the public.
A highlight of the Pantheon is certainly the Oculus, a 30 foot opening in the dome that illuminates the interior. The Oculus is the only natural light source to the Pantheon unless, of course, the doors are open. The Dome itself is pretty incredible. In fact, it is a magnificent architectural achievement. When you look up, you are looking at the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. While the dome and oculus is quite a site, don’t forget to look around – and down!
The main portion of the Pantheon is a circular space, or rotunda, aligning with the dome. There are seven alcoves around the rotunda, three of which are tombs belonging to some pretty notable individuals in Italian history. One tomb belongs to Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of unified Italy, also known as “Father of the Nation.” Two other tombs within the Pantheon are that of Emanuele’s successor, Umberto I, and to the famous artist, Raphael. The alcove directly across from the entrance is the high altar.
What Some Don’t Know
What many people do not know before visiting is that, in addition to being the most well preserved ancient roman monument, it is also a working church. While it was originally a pagan temple (pan theon = “all gods”), it was converted into a Christian church around 609 AD and continues operating as such in present time. The Pantheon’s modern day name is actually “Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyres” (Church of St. Mary and the Martyrs). If you are Catholic (or just want to attend), head to the Pantheon for Sunday Mass next time you’re in Rome.
The marble floors are marvelous! In fact, the use of marble you will find throughout all of Rome is amazing. The beauty, the colors, and the artistry is something to behold. Look down and you’ll be looking at the original Roman marble floors. The marble flooring is a geometric design and the detail is astounding!
Pay to Play at This Famous Monument in Rome
So how much is it going to cost you to see the Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyrs or, The Pantheon? Take a breath because it doesn’t look like the price is going to be too steep. It appears the new cost for visiting this famous monument in Rome will only amount to a few euros. While new fees are always annoying, a site like this is well worth the pocket change. However, until sometime in 2018, you can still visit this famous monument for free.
Read more about my trip to Rome here, and how I conquered the eternal city in 2 days.