Posts tagged ‘Europe’

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)

Trevi Fountain

The Fontana di Trevi, so called because of the ‘tre via’ (three roads) that lead to it, is one of Rome’s top tourist attractions…..but if I’m being honest, I’m not entirely sure what to make of it.

The fountain itself, completed in 1762, is undeniably impressive, taking up one entire side of the 17th century Palazzo Poli. However it just appears a bit out of place now compared to the more humble buildings that surround it and the fact that it feels a bit too big for the relatively small piazza in which it sits.

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy, Europe

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy, Europe

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy, Europe

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy, Europe

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy, Europe

© Mark Simms Photography (2019)

Roman Forum

Dating back some 2,500 years, the Forum developed over-time into the centre of political, commercial and religious life in ancient Rome…..the beating heart of the Roman Republic and subsequent Roman Empire.

To be honest you really need to make sure that your powers of archaelogical interpretation are suitably well tuned (and that ideally you’ve done a little research/reading beforehand) to have any hope of making sense of the jumbled and confusing mass of ruins…..although looking down from the terrace of the Palatine Hill, as in the last two images below, does help a little with understanding the layout.

Having said that, if Roman history is your thing (and with an active imagination) it would be almost impossible not to be impressed by the fact that famous historical figures such as Julius Caesar, Cicero, Pompey and Mark Anthony (to name but a few) once walked these cobbled streets.

The Forum, Rome, Italy, Europe

The Forum, Rome, Italy, Europe

The Forum, Rome, Italy, Europe

The Forum, Rome, Italy, Europe

The Forum, Rome, Italy, Europe

The Forum, Rome, Italy, Europe

The Forum, Rome, Italy, Europe

The Forum, Rome, Italy, Europe

The Forum, Rome, Italy, Europe

© Mark Simms Photography (2019)

Colosseum

Built by the Emperor Vespasian between AD 69-79, the huge 50,000 seat Flavian Amphitheatre (better known as the Colosseum) is perhaps the most famous of Rome’s ancient monuments. It’s certainly the most popular attracting more than 6 million visitors a year:

© Mark Simms Photography (2019)

Rome

We’ve just come back from a few days away visiting the “Eternal City” of Rome. By way of introduction I’ll start with this image of arguably Rome’s most impressive ancient monument, the nearly 2,000 year old Flavian Amphitheatre, better known as the Colosseum:

Colosseum, Rome, Italy, Europe

© 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)

Akrotiri Archaeology

Although not the most photogenic place in Santorini, I’ve had to include some images of our visit to the excavation site and museum of Akrotiri because it is without question one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.

First discovered in 1967, the site is to Greece what Pompeii and Herculaeum are to Italy (buried and preserved by the cataclysmic volcanic eruption that collapsed the middle of the island and caused the Caldera that Santorin is famous for today). Akrotiri may not be as spectacular as the ruins at Pompeii, and it’s certainly not as well known, but it’s much older…..in fact it’s reputed to be the oldest urban settlement in Europe dating back approximately 3600 years.

What’s even more amazing is that the ruins uncovered so far are only a fraction of the whole site. The problem of course is that archaeological excavation on this scale and of this importance takes decades of painstaking work and huge amounts of money……..something at the moment the Greek governemnet is sadly short of.

© Mark Simms Photography (2018)

%d bloggers like this: