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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 well-preserved ancient buildings 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 keep one thing in mind: from 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 public holidays, weekends or when there is a religious event in 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 ticket to the Pantheon. You can also book your tickets on their website.

Book a tour with audio guide

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 self-guided tour to know the highlights of the Pantheon of Rome and learn about its history.

Book your audioguided 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. This includes a tour guide who obviously knows the ancient building very well, so you will get reliable facts 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 learn the complete history of the Pantheon of 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 you the best experience. The website of the Pantheon in Rome explains that the following services are available for the different types of tours:

  • 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 audioguided 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 "Basilica of Santa Maria" is built with 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 is as if the wall is telling the time, no doubt, this is something to keep in mind when visiting the building.

What is most remarkable 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.

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 upon the apostles and others, a shower of petals is held inside the Basilica.

The petals are dropped through the oculus and are assisted by the Fire Brigade. This event is done after mass, around 10:30 about 50 days after the Roman Easter.

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 modern buildings around it.

When night falls over Rome, the Pantheon is illuminated, which makes it look even more imposing. Also, 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 Piazza.

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 for each:

  • Taxi: if you want to get to the building quickly, it's in your best interest 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.
  • Tram: it is the cheapest way to get to the Pantheon, the price is almost 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 Pantheon| ©Domina Viaggi Evento
Children enjoying the Pantheon| ©Domina Viaggi Evento

Yes, I'm sure many children find it entertaining to go to a place that has been around for centuries and is very well preserved. Of course, I encourage you to mention to them that inside the Pantheon you should not run, talk too loudly and, much less, shout.

In addition, I recommend you to 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.

Book your audio-guided tour of the Pantheon

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

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

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

  • Where you are located: this depends on 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 6:45 p.m.

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.

Book your audio-guided tour of the Pantheon

Pantheon opening hours

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

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

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

Book your audio-guided tour of the Pantheon

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 the Pantheon the behavior of visitors is taken care of. Therefore, what I advise you is to avoid doing the following when visiting:

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

The Pantheon of 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!

Book your visit with audio guide to the Pantheon