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Rome's Pantheon: everything you need to know before visiting it

Among the modern buildings in the city of Rome is one that was built centuries ago, but is still one of the best preserved. Going to the Pantheon of Rome is an experience that will make you travel some 1,900 years back in time, do not miss it.

Luisa María Lugo

Luisa María Lugo

8 min read

Rome's Pantheon: everything you need to know before visiting it

Pantheon of Rome | ©Griffin Wooldridge

When you travel to Rome, remember that there are many ancient buildings still in good condition that you can visit, among the best monuments in Rome is the Pantheon. The establishment is also known as the "Pantheon of Marcus Agrippa".

The Pantheon was damaged in the fire of 80 AD, it was the Emperor Hadrian who was responsible for rebuilding it in the second century. In 608, Boniface IV asked to transform it into the Basilica of Santa Maria. Admission to this great work of architecture in Italy is free.

How to get tickets to the Pantheon in Rome

The interior of the Pantheon of Agrippa| ©Evan Qu
The interior of the Pantheon of Agrippa| ©Evan Qu

Because it is a place of religious worship, entrance to the Pantheon (now a Basilica) is free, but please note: Monday through Friday, in addition to being free, access to the building does not require any kind of reservation. A free tour in Italian is also included and is available every day that visitors are allowed in the Pantheon.

However, on holidays, weekends or when there is a religious event at the Basilica, it is necessary to book the entrance at least one day in advance. The procedure is done from the website created by the Italian Ministry of Culture.

Book your tickets if you go in high season

If you travel to Rome in summer, keep in mind that it will be high season in the city and therefore you may need to book your entrance to the Pantheon. You can also make a reservation on their website. As soon as you enter, check the option to register and fill in the following information:

  • Indicate whether you are a tour guide or a visitor.
  • Fill in your details.
  • Create an account for the web in order to manage your visit.

On the other hand, if you are interested in Roman history and want to delve into the details of this incredible monument, you also have the option of hiring a guided tour to tell you the highlights of the Pantheon of Rome.

Book a guided tour of the Pantheon

Are there guided tours at the Pantheon and is it worth it?

Pantheon Cupola| ©Pedro Layant
Pantheon Cupola| ©Pedro Layant

Although admission is free, you can also book a guided tour of the Pantheon, which guarantees a great experience for all tourists. It includes a tour guide who obviously knows the ancient building very well, so you will get reliable information about its construction, architecture and history.

If your visit to the pantheon coincides with a guided tour in Italian or English, don't worry. Inside the building they sell audio guides in several languages, including Spanish, I recommend you purchase one. What will you get with this type of guide? You will get the following benefits:

  • You will know the complete history of the Pantheon in Rome.
  • You will know where the interesting details of the building are located.

Services available during the guided tour

Because it is a place visited by millions of people a year, it is not unusual for them to strive to give the best experience. The website of the Pantheon of Rome explains that the following services are available for the different types of visits:

  • Audio-guides: these are available in Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
  • Digital experience: a 360° virtual tour and a live broadcast from the Pantheon. A guide is available to answer any questions.
  • Mobile app: the app available for Android and iOS allows you to learn more about the Roman building, its secrets and fun facts. You would do well to download it when you visit the Pantheon in Rome.

Book your audio-guided tour of the Pantheon

What to see in the Pantheon of Marcus Agrippa?

Detail of the Exterior of the Pantheon of Rome| ©Kristof Verslype
Detail of the Exterior of the Pantheon of Rome| ©Kristof Verslype

The Pantheon is a perfect example of Roman architecture, its design is characterized by its harmony and balance in every aspect. The construction of the building is impeccable. Although nowadays it is a religious center, inside there are several tombs. Among them are those of two Italian kings and of Raphael Sanzio, the Renaissance painter.

Take a closer look at the dome

The dome of the building, also known as the "Basilica of Santa Maria", is made of unreinforced concrete and has a diameter of 43.44 meters. As for its oculus, it measures 9 meters. What is so special about this area of the building? Sunlight enters through the oculus, so as the day progresses, the interior of the Pantheon is a gigantic sundial. It's as if the wall is telling the time, so this is definitely something to keep in mind when visiting the building.

What stands out most about this is that at the time, buildings in other areas of the world were meant to be viewed from the outside. However, the Pantheon is a place that deserves to be admired from the inside.

The Pentecost in the Basilica of Santa Maria

The way in which the day of Pentecost is celebrated in the Basilica is well known in Italy and in other countries. In order to commemorate the day that the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and other people, a shower of petals is made inside the Basilica.

The petals are dropped through the oculus with the help of the Fire Department. This event takes place after the mass, around 10:30 a.m. about 50 days after the Roman Holy Week.

Visit the only Gothic church in Rome

Although not comparable to the famous St. Peter's Basilica is one of the minor basilicas, the Santa Maria sopra Minerva is considered the only Gothic and religious building in the city. It is located in Piazza della Minerva, about 230 meters from Piazza della Rotonda. If you walk from one square to the other, you have to walk less than 10 minutes.

When it was built, the building was a pagan temple dedicated to Minerva, considered the patron saint of artisans and the protector of Rome. Some of the sculptures that stand out in it are:

  • Christ embracing a cross.
  • An elephant with an Egyptian obelisk (in front of the church).

Admire the exterior

Like other places built in ancient Rome, the Pantheon has an imposing construction. I encourage you to take a few minutes to see its exterior structure and how this place manages to complement the surrounding modern buildings.

When night falls over Rome, the Pantheon is illuminated, which makes it look even more imposing. In addition, in Piazza della Rotonda, one of the best squares in Rome, there are always things to entertain you. For example, street performers put on shows that you can watch as you stroll through the square.

Book a visit to the Pantheon and Santa Maria Sopra

How to get to the Pantheon in Rome

Taking a Taxi| ©Patrik Tschudin
Taking a Taxi| ©Patrik Tschudin

It is located south of Piazza della Rotonda and there are several ways to get there from whatever part of the city you are in. The available transports are: cab, bus, streetcar and metro. Here's what to do on each:

  • Cab: if you want to get to the building quickly, it is best for you to choose this option. Just tell the cab driver to take you to Piazza della Rotonda and from there you walk to the Pantheon. The price starts at 9 euros.
  • Bus: lines 30, 40, 62, 64, 81, 87 and 492, get off at the Largo di Torre Argentina stop which is located approximately 400 meters from the Pantheon of Rome.
  • Streetcar: it is the cheapest way to get to the Pantheon, the price is about 3 euros and you take line 40 at Roma Termini station. The trip will take about 15 minutes.
  • Rome Metro: take line A to the Barberini stop, which is about 700 meters from the famous Roman building.

Is it advisable to go to the Pantheon of Marcus Agrippa with children?

Children enjoying the Patheon| ©Domina Viaggi Evento
Children enjoying the Patheon| ©Domina Viaggi Evento

Yes, I'm sure many children find it entertaining to go to a place that has existed for centuries and is very well preserved. Of course, I encourage you to mention to them that inside the Pantheon there is no running, talking too loudly and, much less, shouting.

In addition, I recommend that you do specific activities for children so that they also have fun experiences on their vacation. In another article I will tell you what things you can do in Rome with kids.

How much time do you need to visit the Pantheon in Rome?

View of the Patheon at night| ©Diana Biris
View of the Patheon at night| ©Diana Biris

To determine how much time you should spend going to the Pantheon in Rome you need to consider the following:

  • Where you are: this will determine how long it will take you to get to the famous Roman Pantheon.
  • How many people will be waiting to enter: remember that during the week the entrance is free, so it is normal that there will be several groups of people waiting their turn for the tour. In case you make a reservation for a weekend or holiday, this is not a problem, as the time you can go is shown on the reservation.
  • Duration of the tour: it lasts between 30 and 40 minutes. The last entrance is at 18:45 hours.

Do you have a reservation to visit this Pantheon? In that case, ideally you should be on time, if possible, arrive 30 minutes to 1 hour before the tour starts. That way, you will have the opportunity to visit Piazza della Rotonda and its surroundings.

Opening hours of the Pantheon

Side view of the Pantheon| ©motfemme
Side view of the Pantheon| ©motfemme

The Basilica of Santa Maria is open daily from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. In case a religious event is planned, this schedule may change, if so, you will be informed upon arrival or when making your reservation online.

The only days of the year when the Basilica is closed are January 1 and December 25. Those visiting Rome for Christmas need not worry, there is still plenty to see in the city.

Tips for visiting the Pantheon

Visiting the Pantheon in Rome| ©Carlo Raso
Visiting the Pantheon in Rome| ©Carlo Raso

As it is a religious building, it is normal that inside it the behavior of visitors is taken care of. Therefore, what I advise you to do is to avoid doing the following when visiting the Pantheon:

  • Talking loudly.
  • Sit on the floor.
  • Leaning on the walls.
  • Wearing hats, caps or clothing unsuitable for the Basilica (sleeveless blouses, vests and shorts).
  • Enter with animals.

The Pantheon in Rome is on the list of the best things to do in Rome. It is one of the most famous places in the city, admiring its architecture from the outside is incredible, but observing the inside is spectacular. In this article I have explained everything about this building, I hope you enjoy your trip to the fullest, buon viaggio!