You simply can’t visit the Eternal City and skip the Pantheon, Rome.
The Pantheon of Rome is the kind of place you never get tired of admiring. It is incredibly well preserved and has a fascinating, interesting history. It is such an iconic building that each year it attracts a whopping 7 million visitors. Sure enough, visiting the Pantheon is one of the best things to do in Rome.
One of the most frequent questions about Rome Pantheon is whether there is such thing as a Pantheon ticket. There isn’t. Back in January 2017, the Italian minister of culture Dario Franceschini announced that Pantheon tickets would start being charged, which would have put an end to the free visits. However, for the time being the Pantheon remains free to visit.
If the Pantheon is high on your list of places to visit in Rome, you will be glad to find information on how to avoid the crowds, what to expect when visiting, and Pantheon tickets (well, for the audioguide!) and guided tours. Continue reading!
A Bit Of Information About The Pantheon, Rome
Built between 118 and 125 AD, during the reign of Hadrian, the Pantheon is one of the best preserved buildings of antiquity. Until the 20th century, this used to be the largest concrete building in the world.
On the site where the Pantheon as we know it today is located there were two other buildings – both of them destroyed by a fire. The first was a wooden structure built n 25-27 BC by consul Agrippa during the reign of Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome. It was destroyed in a fire in 80 AD, and only the façade remained.
The Pantheon was then rebuilt under orders of Emperor Domitian, but like the previous one, the building burnt in 110 AD as a consequence of lightning.
The Pantheon is 43 meters wide and 43 meters high, thus being a perfect sphere resting in a cylinder. Its most attractive part is the Dome, said to have inspired Michelangelo into building the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.
The only source of natural light in the Pantheon is the oculus, an opening located at the center of the dome that is little over 8 meters in diameter. Needless to say, water flows in when it rains, but the floor, which is entirely built in marble (as this was a ceremonial place) is gently sloped and there are drains that allow the flow of rainwater.
As the name Pantheon explains, the building was originally a temple to “all the gods” (pan means all in Greek, and theos means gods). It was turned into a Christian church in the 7th century: Pope Boniface IV consecrated it in 609 with the name of Basilica of St. Mary and the Martyrs.
From the Renaissance onwards, the church became the burial place of notable Italians such as painter Raphael; composer Arcangelo Corelli; and Kings of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I and his wife, queen Margherita.
Nowadays, the Pantheon of Rome is one of the most popular tourist attractions in town and it is not uncommon for it to be used for weddings.
Continue reading to discover how to make the most of your time at the Pantheon, Rome, and whether it is worth getting a Pantheon ticket for an audioguide or a guided tour.
Useful Information For Visiting The Pantheon
Getting a Pantheon ticket
Albeit the announcement of the introduction of a Pantheon ticket back in 2017, the Pantheon remains free to visit. However, be prepared for large crowds of tourists waiting in line to get in – there was not a day that I didn’t spot a long line whenever walked by last time I was in Rome, and this is because no more than 160 visitors are allowed inside for every 30 minutes time slot. The line moves quite swiftly, and just as swiftly visitors exit. Furthermore, there are no security checks – as opposed to other tourist attractions in Rome.
How much time do you need to visit the Pantheon?
This is totally up to you. Most people take around 20 minutes, with some taking literally just 5 minutes to peep in, quickly look around and then head out to look for a place to eat or drink nearby.
I recommend lingering a bit longer. This really is a unique place! In fact, you may want to get an audioguide or join a guided tour to get a more insightful experience.
Guided tours of the Pantheon
While there is no such thing as Pantheon tickets, you may want to consider joining a guided tour to make the most of this incredible building. Some of the options available are budget friendly so you won’t break the bank.
- Pantheon audio guide – it only costs $9.56 USD, the tour lasts around 35 minutes and you can use smartphone tickets. Definitely one of the best options around. There even is a cheaper audioguide option via an app that costs only $6 USD. You can get that here.
- Pantheon tour – for $25 USD you get a guide to take you around the Pantheon to uncover its secrets. The tour lasts 40 minutes.
- Rome highlights: fountains and squares walking tour – a 2.5 hour walking tour of Rome that goes to the best squares and most beautiful fountains and includes a visit of the Pantheon. For $25 USD you also get a live guide.
- Ancient monuments 3 hour small group tour – this 3-hour small group tour costs $73 and it includes a tour of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Pantheon.
How to get to the Pantheon, Rome
The Pantheon is located in Piazza della Rotonda, a very lively square in the historic center of Rome that is packed with cafés and restaurants.
BY METRO – The nearest metro station is Piazza di Spagna, a 15 minutes walk.
BY BUS – To get there by bus, hop on a bus connecting the Vatican to Termini Station (ie buses 40, 60 and 64) and get off at Largo di Torre Argentina, from where it is a 5 minutes walk.
BY HOP-ON HOP-OFF BUS – Finally, you can also consider getting the hop on hop off bus, which stops near Piazza Navona, a 4 minutes walk from the Pantheon. You can book your hop on hop off bus here.
The Pantheon is open daily from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. Last access is at 6:30 pm. If you wish to visit at the weekend or during national holidays, you will have to make reservations via the app at least a day in advance. You can reserve your spot here.
How to avoid the crowds at the Pantheon
The best way to avoid the crowds at the Pantheon is to head there as early as possible. The site opens at 9:00 am, so head to Piazza della Rotonda at 8:00 am and grab breakfast with a view (I actually recommend the nearby Hotel Cesari, where the buffet breakfast starts at 7:00 am and costs €15 for non-guests: it is served on the 6th floor on a gorgeous terrace) while you wait for it to open. This way you can be the first to enter and you will have it almost all to yourself.
Photography at the Pantheon
Photography is allowed at the Pantheon.
Etiquette and dress code
The Pantheon is ultimately a church, so pay respect and keep quiet for the duration of your visit – signs scattered around the site will remind you of that. You also need to be dressed modestly, covering your legs and shoulders when you walk in.
If you only have a few days in Rome, you may find some use in my itineraries to help you plan your visit:
- The Perfect Itinerary To See Rome In 2 Days
- A Fantastic Itinerary For 4 Days In Rome
- A Wonderful Itinerary For 5 Days In Rome
- A Great Itinerary For A Fabulous Week In Rome
- 31 Incredible Places To Explore Rome Off The Beaten Path
- The Best Day Trips From Rome
For more hacks on Rome attractions, read the following posts:
- Seven Smart Ways To Get Tickets To The Colosseum And Skip The Lines
- How To Get Tickets To The Sistine Chapel And The Vatican Museums And Skip The Line
- How To Get St. Peter’s Basilica Tickets And Skip The Line
- Seven Smart Ways To Get Galleria Borghese Tickets And Skip The Lines
- A Complete Guide To Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica Dome