Discover the fascinating places described in the popular thriller by Dan Brown, Angels & Demons.
Pantheon and S. Maria in Via Lata
- Duration: 2 hours
- Included: Tickets for accessing the undergrounds
Discover the Temple of the Gods of Ancient Rome
The Pantheon was built by Marco Agrippa during the reign of Augustus as a temple for all the gods of Ancient Rome. It was expanded and modified by Emperor Adriano around 126 AD.
The building is circular, with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the foreground and two groups of four behind) housed under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule connects the portico to the roundabout, which is located under a concrete coffered dome, with a central opening (oculus) towards the sky.
Almost 2,000 years after its construction, the dome of the Pantheon is still the largest unarmed concrete dome in the world. The height of the eye and the diameter of the inner circle at the base are equal, 43.3 meters (142 feet).
It is one of the best preserved Roman buildings. The building has always been is use—first in Roman times as a temple, and from the seventh century on as a Roman Catholic church dedicated to Santa Maria and the Martyrs, (known as Santa Maria della Rotonda).
The Church of S. Maria in Via Lata and Its Undergrounds
From the Pantheon, we arrive on foot up to Piazza di Pietra. The name is due to the presence of the stone temple of Hadrian, which is located here. This is a temple dedicated to the god Hadrian, built by his adopted son and his successor, Antoninus Pius, in 145. Now it is incorporated into a more recent building.
Continuing further on, we arrive at the church of S. Maria in Via Lata, where we enter the underground area. Legend has it that San Paolo spent two years here, in the crypt under the church, while he was under house arrest awaiting trial.
After the imprisonment of San Paolo in this place, an oratory (chapel with wellness center) was built in the fifth century. The oratory was built on the remains of a Roman department store, about 250 meters long.
An Ancient Well with Spring Waters
We cannot fail to visit an Ancient Roman well with its spring waters, which legend says appeared in response to the prayers of St. Paul while he was imprisoned.
We also have the opportunity to see the many frescoes preserved in this place along with an explanation from your knowledgeable guide.