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Trevi Fountain & The Pantheon

If you've been keeping up with my Rome travel posts, you will have noticed a bit of a theme of hitting up a certain area of Rome each day and checking out everything worthy of seeing in that specific area. As Matt & I were in Rome for 6 days, heading to a specific area of Rome each day made it easy for both sight seeing what we wanted to see but also meant we had time to check out local hotspots for food and also stumble across the odd hidden gem as we browsed and strolled down the narrow Italian streets. The Trevi Fountain and The Pantheon are relatively close to each other (amongst other sites such as art galleries and Quirinal Palace) so we decided to check them both out as we wandered through the area which is particularly good for those shopaholics amongst you who like to have a shopping trip added into the mix on your holidays.

The Trevi Fountain was something that I wasn't too fussed about seeing but you know, when in Rome! (I'm sorry). It would have been silly to just avoid it all together so we just had a leisurely walk there to see what it was like.

Trevi Fountain, RomaTrevi

The fountain is one of the most famous in the world and has starred in numerous films so of course, it's bustling with tourists at any given day or time. The fountain wasn't what I expected at all. From seeing it in photographs and on TV screens, it looked like it would be this huge grand affair in a big sprawling plaza which is only kind of half true. The fountain itself is beautiful and it is lovely to spend even a couple of minutes looking at it because despite the insane amount of people crammed around it, it has a sense of calm compared to other areas in the city. However the sprawling plaza I was expecting was non-existent. The fountain, whilst tall and seemingly impossible to fit into one photograph felt almost dwarfed by the surrounding buildings and the space it was in just seemed cramped. I honestly thought this piece of insanely great architecture would have been in a bigger and brighter area but you just kind of turn a narrow street corner and whomp, there it is. It was still something to tick off the list but I left a little indifferent to the experience.

After taking a quick break at the Trevi Fountain, we hot-footed it to the Pantheon. Situated in Piazza della Rotonda, the Pantheon is considered the most well preserved building of ancient Rome which was originally a temple dedicated to all of the pagan Gods but has been used almost continuously throughout history so it also became a church dedicated to Saint Mary and the Martyrs which can still be identified by looking at the interior today. The Pantheon is another tourist heavy site with so many options for audio tours or tours with a guide but Matt & I just stuck to having a look around ourselves. Once inside the Pantheon it is breathtakingly beautiful just because of the architecture. Most people when they think about the Pantheon will instantly mention the oculus in the domed roof which is essentially a big ol' hole in the ceiling. This oculus lets daylight stream into the Pantheon and that, teamed with the light seeping in through the entrance doorway, are the the only sources of light in the whole building. When you really think about that, it's amazing to see how bright and airy the space is and depending on how long you stay in there and how bright of a day it is, you can see the stream of sunlight through the oculus move around in an anti-sundial direction.

The Pantheon, ItalyFountain DetailThe Pantheon CeilingPantheon StatuePantheon ArtworkThe Pantheon, Rome, ItalyThe Pantheon ArtPantheonThe Pantheon, RomeThe Pantheon Open RoofPantheon StatueThe Pantheon InteriorHorse Drawn CarriagePantheon, Roma

If you're interested in Christian history or art (which to some degree you kind of have to be to truly enjoy Rome's history, art and architecture,) you would really enjoy having a snoop around the Pantheon as it's full to the brim with Christian modifications that have gone on over the years. It is full of famous artworks and statues and not to mention it is the burial site of the famous artist, Raphael. His mortal remains are housed inside a sarcophagus in one of the niches of the Pantheon which was great to see for an art history lover (albeit a bit odd to say that). If you're someone who doesn't deal well with big crowds, I would actually recommend visiting the Pantheon if you're ever in Rome as despite it being busy when we visited, the space is so vast and airy you kind of don't notice the other crowds and there's enough space for everyone to look around as they please without stepping on each others' toes.

If you're really into your history and want to get the most out of your visit, I would definitely recommend getting an audio guide from the little rental office in there as it will explain a lot of information about the artwork in there and the building itself. Although it was busy in there, there was a sense of calm and quiet inside compared to the bustle of the plaza outside which was a nice break in our busy day. The piazza surrounding the Pantheon is also a nice place to stop and get a quick drink or just listen to the street music - when we were there, there was a fantastic musician playing the cello in the middle of the square. Pair that with the sunshine and you've got a winning combination.

- A.
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