Sunday, April 22, 2012
Yesterday was Rome’s birthday. While the mega concert on Via dei Fori Imperiali and the fireworks above the Campidoglio were hard to miss, there was is one tradition - a few thousand years older - that was a bit more subtle, but infinitely more moving.
The Pantheon, which was built in the 1st century AD, was constructed so that the oculus in the roof would funnel the light in to the entry way on exactly April 21, the day that Romulus and Remus founded Rome. At that very instant the Emperor would enter the door way of the Pantheon, bathed in the intense light coming in from the roof.
I visited the Pantheon to witness this yearly event with the Friends of the Academy in Rome. Professor Marina Franceschini graciously explained the complex engineering that went into the design, building and construction of the Pantheon so that it could take advantage of the movement of the Sun. For more on the history of the Pantheon and the use of light see this short video.
For now I’ll just leave you with these images which barely capture how incredible the event was.
Posted by Elizabeth Minchilli at 11:05 AM