Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 54

Today my camera trip counter says that it is day 54 of my Roma trip.  Can you imagine?  54 days?!  Am I crazy?  I think so. . . well, anyway, this is my last day in Rome, but I still have one more day before I get home, so it'll be 55 total days gone.  Insane, I know!

Well, my last day here I had a little more shopping to do (that's always fun!), and lots of cleaning in the apartment (not so fun), plus packing (somehow fun, when it's to go home!).  But, I wanted to see some stuff too, so I downloaded Rick Steve's tour of the Pantheon.  I thought it would be a nice sort of book-end, since the first monument I saw here was the Pantheon, it maybe should also be the last!

I walked through Piazza Navona on my way:

Then it was on to the Pantheon.  Turns out, that Pantheon literally means "all the gods" (Pan Theon), and that makes since since it was originally built under Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all the gods of Rome, which made it a very unique temple.  Also making it unique is the fact that everyday citizens of Rome were allowed into the temple to worship, rather than just the priests.  Pretty cool!  After several fires, though, the Pantheon was rebuilt under the emperor Hadrian (about 100 years after Christ).  While the front looks like a Greek temple, the rest of the building is totally Roman: round, domed, built of brick and concrete with relief arches in the walls, which are apparently, 20 feet thick!

Also, even in Greece, most columns were built of several round chunks of marble or granite stacked on top of each other, with a lead core to keep them all together.  The columns on the Pantheon, though (I think they're granite) are solid, one chunk of stone each.  According to Rick Steve's they were also supposed to be taller, and you can still see the begining of a higher roof if you look behind and above the portico.

These doors are solid bronze and over 20 feet tall. . .

Inside the sunlight coming through the occulus was pretty spectacular!

Of course, most of the original decoration has been pillaged for other uses, and the origianl statues to the gods are gone (since its a Catholic church now, and has been for awhile, but I'm not sure when exactly the switch happened).  The most recent pillage was when, in the Renaissance, a Barberini Pope decided to take the bronze coating off the ceiling and re-use it in the bronze canopy over the transept in St. Peter's.  There's a saying in Rome that goes "What the barbarians didn't do, the Barberini did", refering to this pillage in addition to others. . .

In modern times (ie not ancient), since the Pantheon has become a Catholic church, several people have been interred here.  The most famous is Rafael.

Then, also buried here is the first king of unified Italy (in the 1800's), Vittorio Emanuel:

And his son (I don't remember his name), the second king of unified Italy.

They are the only two Kings buried here, because the third king allowed Mussolini to basically take over, then when Hitler invaded, the king ran off to hide in Switzerland, where the family still is today.  Infact, after WWII, the Italian people voted for their current governement system (I'm not sure exactly which kind it is), and they banned the king and his family and heirs from coming into Itlay.  2006 was the first time they were allowed to visit, but relations are still rocky and the family is mostly just a tabloid head-liner.  Oh well!

After the Pantheon, I went to the Trevi fountain with the intention of throwing a coin over my shoulder while wishing to come back (its a thing, I've heard).  But, when I got back to the apartment, I realised I had totally forgotten to throw the coin!  Oh well, I do wish to come back (with a certain someone, of course), so I guess I'll just have to wait to throw the coin next time I come!

Tomorrow its off to the airport bright and early, then I'll be home!!!!!


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