You simply can’t visit the Eternal City and skip the Pantheon, Rome.
I have been to Rome more times than I can remember. I have even lived there for a while years ago. The Pantheon of Rome is one of the places in the city that I will never get tired of visiting. Each time I go, I am in awe of how incredibly well preserved it is, and I am fascinated by its interesting history.
The Pantheon of Rome is one of the most iconic buildings in the world and each year it attracts a whopping 7 million visitors. Sure enough, you wouldn’t want to miss it when visiting the Italian capital.
For more things to do in Rome, read my post “30 Unmissable, Fun And Cheap Things To Do In Rome.”
Back in January 2017, the Italian minister of culture Dario Franceschini announced that Pantheon tickets would start being charged, thus putting an end to the free visits. However, for the time being the Pantheon remains free to visit.
Although at the moment you won’t need to purchase Pantheon tickets, you may find use in some tips on how to avoid the terrible crowds and how to make the most of it; and you may like to know what to expect when visiting.
In this post, I will highlight everything you should know before visiting the Pantheon, Rome, and what you need to know about Pantheon tickets and guided visits.
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 building, which was a wooden structure, was 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 of Rome is 43 meters wide and 43 meters high, thus being a perfect sphere resting in a cylinder. It’s most attractive part is the Dome, which is said to have inspired Michelangelo into building the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.
The only source of natural light in the Pantheon of Rome 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 of the Pantheon, 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. This helped preserve the building, as its materials
The building was turned into a Christian church in the 7th century and became the burial ground of several artists such as Raphael as well as of the former Italian royal family.
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 Pantheon tickets for a guided tour.
Useful Information For Visiting The Pantheon, Rome
Getting Pantheon tickets
Good news! You don’t need to get Pantheon tickets. As this is a church, it is completely free to visit.
However, be prepared for large crowds of tourists waiting in line to get in. 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 actually recommend to spend a bit longer inside the Pantheon. This really is a unique place and you should make the most of it while you are there. This is why I recommend joining a guided tour when visiting. More information about guided tours of the Pantheon below.
Guided tours of the Pantheon, Rome
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 so budget friendly that it would be a pity to miss them!
These are the best guided tour options to visit the Pantheon:
- Pantheon audio guide – it only costs €6.50, the tour lasts around 35 minutes and you can use smartphone tickets. Definitely one of the best options around.
- Discover Pantheon: guided tour of the glory of Rome – for €20 you get a guide to take you around the Pantheon to uncover its secrets. The tour lasts about one hour.
- Pantheon guided tour – it costs €20 and lasts around 35 minutes, with a live guide. It’s basic and straight to the point, but good.
- Guided tour of the Pantheon – this tour is one of the most complete around. It lasts 3 hours and costs €35; you’ll visit the Pantheon, Palazzo Montecitorio, and walk along the River Tiber to the Ara Pacis Augustae altar. You’ll finish your visit at the Mausoleum of Augustus.
- Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Baroque Rome – costing €26, this tour lasts about 2.5 hours and goes to the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and end at S.Luigi dei Francesi.
- 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 €40 you also get a live guide
- Ancient monuments 3 hour small group tour – this small group tour costs €44.80 and it includes Colosseum, Roman Forum and Pantheon tickets. The tour lasts 3 hours and includes a live guide.
- Rome super saver: Colosseum and Forum with the best of Rome walking tour – a great tour if you want to see as much of the city as possible in one go. The tour lasts 8 hours and costs €83 and you have a live guide for a group of up to 25 persons.
How to get to the Pantheon
The Pantheon is located in Piazza della Rotonda, a very lively square of Rome that is packed with cafés and restaurants. The nearest metro station is that of Piazza di Spagna, from where it is a 15 minutes walk.
Alternatively, you can take any bus that connects the Vatican to Termini Station (ie buses 40, 60 and 64) and get off at Largo di Torre Argentina, from where you will have to walk for about 5 minutes.
Finally, you can also consider getting the hop on hop off bus, which generally has a stop near Piazza Navona, which is at just 4 minutes walk. You can book your hop on hop off bus here.
The Pantheon can be visited year round, but the opening times vary depending on the day of the week and on whether or not it is a public holiday. You may want to research online or enquire with your hotel to double check whether the day you are intending to visit is a public holiday, as in that case you will only have the morning to explore it.
The following are the opening times of the Pantheon:
Monday to Saturday: from 9:00 am to 7:15 pm.
Sunday: from 9:00 am to 5:45 pm.
Public holidays: from 9:00 am to 12:45 pm.
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. As the site opens at 9:00 am, you may want to head to Piazza della Rotonda, where it is located, at around 8:00 am and sit in one of the coffee shops nearby while you wait for it to open. You can have breakfast with a view and be the first to enter and you will have the Pantheon of Rome almost all to yourself.
Photography at the Pantheon
Photography is allowed at the Pantheon of Rome. While you can carry your camera, I recommend not bringing in any selfie stick – they may be a nuisance to other visitors.
Etiquette and dress code
As the Pantheon is ultimately a church, make sure to pay respect and keep quiet for the duration of your visit – signs scattered around the site will remind you of that. Although there won’t be tight checks such as at St. Peter’s Basilica, I recommend that you are dressed appropriately too: make sure to cover your legs and shoulders.
Further readings about Rome
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 A Day
- The Perfect Itinerary To See Rome In 2 Days
- The Perfect Itinerary For 3 Days In Rome
- 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
If you are among the lucky ones that are planning a longer stay in the Eternal City, you may also want to leave the city for a day trip. In this case, head over to my post “20 Great Day Trips From Rome.”
Make sure to read my post “A Complete Guide To Where To Stay In Rome.”
For more tips on how to avoid the tourist lines when in Rome, read my tip-packed 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
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