Posts from the ‘People & Portraits’ category

Pantheon – Interior

The interior of the Pantheon is all about the magnificent roof. At 43.3m in diameter (which exactly matches the interior height, giving the building it’s wonderful balance and symmetry) it is the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever built. In fact until the 15th Century it was the largest dome anywhere in the world, only surpassed by the massive cupola of the Duomo in Florence.

At the centre of the dome is an 8.7m wide oculus, which serves a number of purposes. The most important of which is the vital structural role it plays in re-distributing the huge tensile forces caused by the unsupported dome. Second it creates a symbolic connection between the temple/church and the Gods/heaven. Finally it creates a very physical connection between the worshippers and the elements, most notably by flooding the central rotunda with amazing light (even on a cloudy day) but also of course by letting in the rain…which fortunately we didn’t encounter on the day we visited. 

The interior of the Pantheon is hugely impressive and it is little wonder that it’s considered ancient Rome’s most important architectural achievement and has subsequently proved one of the most influential buildings ever constructed.

Pantheon, Rome, Italy, Europe

Pantheon, Rome, Italy, Europe

Pantheon, Rome, Italy, Europe

Pantheon, Rome, Italy, Europe

Pantheon, Rome, Italy, Europe

Pantheon, Rome, Italy, Europe

Pantheon, Rome, Italy, Europe

© Mark Simms Photography (2019)

Pantheon – Exterior

Built about 2,000 years ago as a temple to all the Gods – hence the name Pantheon from the Greek pan (all) and theos (god) – it was subsequently consecrated as a Christian church in AD 608 and is now officially known as the Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyres.

I’ve seen images of the Pantheon plenty of times before in books, magazines and on TV, but until I saw it “in the felsh” I didn’t really appreciate how impressive it was. For one thing it’s much bigger than I thought and for another it’s amazingly well preserved considering, in it’s current form, it dates back to AD 125. In fact the Pantheon was my favourite of all the places we visited in Rome……

Pantheon, Rome, Italy, Europe

 

Pantheon, Rome, Italy, Europe

Pantheon, Rome, Italy, Europe

Pantheon, Rome, Italy, Europe

© Mark Simms Photography (2019)

Palazzo del Quirinale

The Palazzo del Quirinale is the official residence of Italy’s head of state, the President of the Italian Republic…..not that we realised this at the time we were walking past, although the police and guards did give us a bit of a clue that this was something official.

From the square outside the palace we also got our first glimpse of St Peter’s Basilica, across the River Tiber in Vatican City, with it’s massive dome rising about the rooftops in the second image below:

Quirinale, Rome, Italy, Europe

Quirinale, Rome, Italy, Europe

Quirinale, Rome, Italy, Europe

Quirinale, Rome, Italy, Europe

Quirinale, Rome, Italy, Europe

© Mark Simms Photography (2019)

Twelfth Night

In honour of Twelfth Night, the traditional end of the festive period and the night by which all Christmas decorations should be taken down, here is a mixed gallery of images from Lincoln Christmas Market and the Christmas Lanterns at Chester Zoo…..it’s all about the lights:

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© Mark Simms Photography (2019)

Oia

Oia is Santorini’s premier resort…..the sort of place where the well-healed go to relax, wine, dine and party. It’s undeniably pretty, with some great picture postcard photo opportunities, but it’s also a little too manicured for my tastes……a little, dare I say, false.

It also gets packed with the masses of tourists who disemabrk their crusie ships and head straight up to Oia in time for the sunset and then head straight back to the ship in time for the evening meal and entertainment…….just one of many reasons why the idea of a cruise really doesn’t appeal.

Personally I much preferred the charm and character of Fira, which is still very pretty but a little more rough around the edges.

© Mark Simms Photography (2018)

Fira

Fira (aka Thira) is the capital of Santorini and was the base for our two-week stay on the island. The town holds a dramatic location along the caldera edge, with its white sugar-cube shaped buildings and narrow-cobbled streets clinging to the edge and spilling down the steep cliff side towards the old port of Skala and the sea below:

© Mark Simms Photography (2018)

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