Rome – Part Two: Pantheon – Trevi Fountain – Spanish Steps
Pantheon is most unique building I’ve seen because of it’s open dome (meaning a hold on the roof). It is about 20 minutes walk from Colosseum. Being one of the best-preserved and most influencial of all Ancient Roman buildings, it has been in continuous use throughout its history.
It was built as a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome. As the brick stamps on the side of the building reveal it was built and dedicated between A.D 118 and 125.
The coffered dome has a central oculus as the main source of natural light. When it rains, it also rains inside the Pantheon. But the floor is slightly sloping floor with 22 well-hidden holes help the water flow away, thanks to an effective drainage system.
One of the masterpieces of architecture present in Rome, it is a must see. The original Pantheon was destroyed in a fire around 80 A.D. It was rebuilt by Emperor Domitian, only to be burned down again in 110 A.D. Hadrian became emperor in 117, a time when the Roman Empire included much of present-day Europe, as well as parts of the Middle East and northern Africa. The final Pantheon was entirely rebuilt in 126 AD by Emperor Hadrian, using more up-to-date architectural and engineering techniques. In honor of its original builder Agrippa, Emperor Hadrian did not take credit for it by inscribing its own name on the building.
Since the Renaissance the Pantheon has been the site of several important burials. Today, this impressive museum is free to visit.
From Pantheon, walk towards northern east direction, you’ll reach Trevi Fountain in 10 minutes also.
The Trevi Fountain is one of the oldest water sources in Rome. The fountain dates back to ancient Roman times, since the construction of the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct in 19 B.C. that provided water to the Roman baths and the fountains of central Rome.
The fountain is located in Rome’s Trevi district, abutting the Palazzo Poli. An earlier fountain on the site was demolished in the 17th century, and a design competition for a new fountain was won by Nicola Salvi in 1732. His creation was a scenic wonder.
Trevi Fountain, Italian Fontana di Trevi, fountain in Rome that is considered a late Baroque masterpiece and is the best known of the city’s numerous fountains. It was designed by Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini in 1762. The fountain also features statues of Abundance and Health.
According to legend, tossing one coin into the Trevi Fountain means you’ll return to The Eternal City (Rome), tossing two coins means you’ll return and fall in love, and tossing three coins means you’ll return, find love, and marry. An estimated 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day. In 2016, an estimated €1.4 million (US$1.5 million) was thrown into the fountain. The money has been used to subsidise a supermarket for Rome’s needy. Not surprisingly, there are regular attempts to steal coins from the fountain, even though it is illegal to do so.
Remember the scene in the movie Roman Holiday? The right way to throw a coin is to toss a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder, with your back to the Fountain. 🙂
Head north for another 10 -15 minutes, you’ll reach another famous spot – the Spanish Steps.
But in reality, you might be stopping here and there in between because this is the ancient centre of Rome. Nearly the whole walk is lined with buildings of interest, bars and small restaurants. Do get a good guide book and pick up a detailed street map to guide you throughout the journey.
Standing at the top of the Spanish Steps is Peter’s Basilica. the 16th-century Trinità dei Monti church, which was built using French funds, having been commissioned by King Louis XII.
The Piazza di Spagna at the foot of the steps is named after the Spanish Embassy there, so the name simply extended to the steps, which were built in the 18th century to connect both the Embassy and the Trinita dei Monti church (which was under French patronage) with the Holy See – the seat of the Catholic Church.
That scene of Princess Ann eating ice creams while sitting on the steps in the movie Roman Holiday made those steps famous worldwide. I was lucky enough to have visited it in earlier years, so siting and chilling on the steps were not a problem then. Unfortunately sitting on the staircase at Rome’s Spanish Steps has been banned now. The move is reportedly part of the raft of strict new regulations which recently became available to the city’s local police force.
The steps are a wide irregular gathering place consisted of 138 steps placed in a mix of curves, straight flights, vistas and terraces. They connect the lower Piazza di Spagna with the upper piazza Trinita dei Monti, with its beautiful twin tower church dominating the skyline.
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