The Pantheon was built as a Roman temple and completed by the emperor Hadrian around 126 A.D. The name “Pantheon” comes from the Greek, meaning “honor all Gods” and this exactly was its purpose. As with most of the ancient monuments in Rome also the Pantheon has more than one story to tell. Most historians believe that Emperor Augustus’ right hand, Agrippa, built the first Pantheon in 27 BC, but the building burned down in the great fire of 80 AD and was rebuilt by Emperor Domitian. But again the temple was struck by lightning and burned down once more in 110 AD. The Pantheon as we know it today was finally built in 120 AD by Emperor Hadrian. In 609 A.D the Pantheon was transformed into a church which might be the reason that it was saved from being destroyed during the Middle Ages. And yes, there are Sunday Masses for everyone to join until today. Truly fascinating are the 16 massive Corinthian columns (12m/39 ft tall) at the entry and the giant dome with its hole in the top, also called “The eye of the Pantheon”, the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world and considered a great architectural achievement. The first king of unified Italy, Vittorio Emmanuelle II is buried in the Pantheon and so is his son, King Umberto I as well as the famous Renaissance painter Raphael.