The Pantheon is without any doubt one of the best preserved ancient monuments in Rome. It is a wonderful example of the reutilization from a Christian perspective of a sacred building consecrated to all Gods. It stands in the heart of the ancient Campus Martius, in one of the lowest parts of Rome, and its imposing facade dominates the southern side of Piazza della Rotonda.
The original construction, of which only a few traces survive, was realized in the year 27 B.C. by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, son-in-law of Augustus, whose name appears in the inscription on the facade.
The monument was totally rebuilt between the years 118 and 125 A.D. by Emperor Hadrian who notoriously used to have his name affixed on the monuments he built. After several restorations, performed by the Severi Emperors at the beginning of the third century A.D., the monument fell in a state of neglect until 608, when it was ceded by the Byzantine Emperor Foca to Pope Boniface the Eighth that transformed it into the church of Sancta Maria ad Martyres.
In 1625 the Pope Urban the Eighth, a member of the Barberini family, removed the bronze beams from the portico to make the four columns of the famous canopy by Bernini in Saint Peter’s and eighty cannons for Castel Sant’Angelo. In 1870 the Pantheon became the shrine of the kings of Italy and hosts the mortal remains of Victor Emanuel the Second, Humbert the First and Margaret of Savoy.Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio) the supreme artist of the Renaissance is also buried in the Pantheon.