Are you in Rome? Would you like to know what to do close to the Pantheon? Here you are even more: have a look at the list of the best restaurants near the Pantheon. Enjoy!
Pantheon: a little bit of history
The Pantheon is built on the site of an earlier building commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD). The present building was completed by the emperor Hadrian, who retained Agrippa’s original inscription, which has confused its date of construction.
The building is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. The most peculiar thing of this building is the roof, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost three thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings, in large part because it has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a church dedicated to “St. Mary and the Martyrs” (Santa Maria ad Martyres) but informally known as “Santa Maria Rotonda”. The square in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza della Rotonda.
Today, a lot of important people are buried inside the Pantheon, like for example Raffaello Sanzio; King Umberto I di Savoia, King Vittorio Emanuele II di Savoia and the queen Margherita di Savoia; Giovanni da Udine and Annibale Carracci.
When to go
The Pantheon is opened every day, so you can go whenever you want and visit it. They organize guided tours in different languages only on Saturday morning (better check on pantheonroma.com), but it’s a really wonderful experience even if you go by yourself.
Of course, the best day to come and visit it should be a sunny day, so you can enjoy the light that comes through the oculus, but someone says that when it rains the water does not come through it, so it rains outside but not inside. Well, I will let you find out if it’s true or not.
What and where to eat: the best restaurants near the Pantheon
Here we don’t have particular specialties of this area, but for sure around here there are some of the best restaurants in the city.
I do have a tip for you, though, if you’re walking around during the day and you need some water, don’t buy it. You can always refill your bottle at the Nasone, those strangely shaped fountains that are everywhere in Rome; well, if you find yourself thirsty at the Pantheon and you have an empty bottle with you, you can not only drink from this fountain and do one of the most roman thing you can do, but you will drink from the very firsts “nasoni” ever built, the two little fountains right in front of the Pantheon.
Now, let’s go back to food. One of the best trattorie (kind of a family business restaurant) of this area is Armando al Pantheon (Salita de Crescenzi 31); here you can taste real roman specialties and almost everything is homemade: pasta, desserts, cakes and so on, it’s really amazing.
Another very very good restaurant, more fancy and elegant, is Fortunato (Via del Pantheon 55); in this area, it’s quite difficult to find really bad places, so it’s just a matter of choice and tastes.
If you want a gelato, one of the best “gelaterie” in this area is Fiocco di Neve (Via del Pantheon 51), where you can find the “classics” flavors and a very sweet dog on the door ready to be cuddled.
How to reach it
The best way to arrive at the Pantheon is to get to Largo di Torre Argentina, by bus or with the subway. From there you can walk for 400 meters, cross Piazza della Minerva and you will find yourself right at the back of the Pantheon (I’m sure you will easily recognize it even from the back!).