Dawn at the Pantheon in Rome

The Pantheon in Rome, Italy

This is one of those places that I’ll always remember. I had just finished photographing the Trevi Fountain twenty minutes earlier, and to be honest I was meandering around the area with no plan, when I checked my iPod to see what other sites were nearby. I have some great travel apps, with maps, points of interest, Wikipedia entries, and all kinds of cool stuff that helps me get around and shoot the most interesting places. I didn’t remember that the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon were so close together. Lucky for me that they are, or I would have missed the perfect time of day to get this photo. People were slowly arriving to their early morning jobs, at the restaurants and cafes behind me, as I was taking this photo. It’s always a special treat to be nearly alone, or alone at such a beautiful and historic place. The scene is quite different in the day time; with hundreds of tourists milling about the church, the fountain, and the outdoor cafes surrounding the Pantheon in Rome.

The Pantheon was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome around 31 BC. It was then rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in about 126 AD. This is one building with some serious history and it would take pages to get into the details. During medieval times the building was given to the Catholic church by the Byzantine emperor Phocas, and Pope Boniface IV converted it into a church. The church is now named Santa Maria dei Martiri. During the Renaissance, the Pantheon was used as a tomb, and some rather famous people are buried there. These include the painter Raphael, the composer Corelli, and the king of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II.

All over the world you will find buildings modeled on or inspired by the Roman Pantheon. Places like the US Capitol building in Washington DC, The Pantheons in London and Paris, as well as churches in many countries.

Now that I’m back from a month on the road, I’ll be starting to work on the new images from all the great places I was able to visit. Look for photos from Washington DC, Atlanta, Saint Augustine, Savannah, Charleston, and New York City in upcoming blog posts. I had a great time, and now I’m looking forward to sharing the photos and stories with you all here on my blog.

Enjoy more travel photos and stories:

Comments (21)

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  1. says

    Beautiful shot, Ken. It makes me wish my trip to Italy is today and not five months away. Looking forward to seeing your new photos and stories from your recent trip. -Mia

  2. says

    Thanks Carlos! I’m eager to get the new photos from the road trip on the blog as well.

    Awww thanks Andi :)

    Lisa Marie, it is a great spot in Rome, isn’t it? So calm and peaceful in the wee hours of the morning like in the photo. Yet so busy and full of energy during the day.

    Scott, I went back the next day to attempt that very shot, however the crowds were just too big. I guess I’ll have to go back one day and be there the moment the church opens. I’ll take any excuse to go back to Italy!

    Mia, I’m now jealous! I want to go back and keep exploring Italy. I’m sure that you’ll have the time of your life. Italy is spectacular!

  3. says

    Really amazing photo. The Pantheon and walking the area around it — including an gelato store that gave us extra for our little girl — reminds me of one of my favorite days of our travels.


  4. Amelia says

    This photo is ancient and modern all in one glance.. Beautiful, and yes It is peaceful in the wee small hours.. Can’t wait to see your new pictures.. :)

  5. art lover says

    A picture is worth a thousand words? This one is worth a million words. You have managed to evoke every emotion in this incredible photo!

  6. says

    I’ve been living in Rome for a year, and I have to say that Pantheon is one of my (if not) favourite places in the city of Roma. I especially like the back side of the building where only students, photographers or architects spend time admiring, capturing this lovely building apart from tourists.

    Lovely night shot!

  7. says

    Paula, Thank you, it’s one of mine too!

    Leigh, That is one of the best parts of photography for me. The memories that it brings back and the smiles that are the result of these nice memories :)

    Michela, Thanks! It’s not luck but rather good timing. I force myself to get up at 4 AM to get to these places at a time when there is no one around. But I was lucky to be there and all the other wonderful places i get to photograph!

    Amelia, It is soooo peaceful at this time of the morning. While on the road, it is my favourite time of the day. Lot of new photos on the way :)

    Art, I’m glad that the image has been able to provoke some good feelings. Imagine just how good I felt, at the moment I was taking this photograph. Moments like these are treasures.

    Dana, I have more shots of the Pantheon from the back that I’ll be sharing in a future post. That part of the structure really captivated me as well. So ancient looking, almost like a ruin. Rome is just full of wonderful surprises like this. You are so fortunate to live in such a great city, with so much history to explore.

  8. says


    Such an eeerie glow.
    Once I get the gallery up and running I got to have one of these mounted on metal. And in my office…:) Now which one should it be Ken!?

    wow that will be hard..

    Remarkable my friend!


  9. says

    The Pantheon was also one of my favorite places. I have been looking at my old film pictures–the design of each niche inside was just the perfect blend of contrasting marbles. While it is a Roman Catholic church today, if they hadn’t decided to use it, it probably wouldn’t be standing today. Every lesson in architecture is in that one place, inside and out. You got a great shot of it without the scads of people flowing in or out!

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