As soon as I arrive in Rome, I head to The Pantheon. I stand inside under its Dome–the Dome of All Domes–and look up to that opening that frames the ever-changing Roman sky: the Eye of Heaven!
This is the perfect place to begin an Italian adventure. This is where you feel the pull of Italy’s soul. Where you get the thrill of being in an architectural wonder, built over 2000 years ago to honor all the goddesses and gods. In the seventh century it was consecrated as a church, dedicated to Santa Maria and the Martyrs. In the 16th century Renaissance it was so revered the superstar artist Raphael asked to be buried here.
Opposite Raphael’s tomb, there’s a fresco of The Annunciation–a scene you’ll be seeing along your Italian travels again and again. It’s Mary being visited by the Angel Gabriel. It’s the ordinary woman receiving the announcement: “You’re Divine!”
To enter the Pantheon is Divine. Plus it’s FREE, and open so conveniently, Mon-Sat: 8:30-7, Sun: 8:30-5:30.
To make your Golden Day Number One complete, steps away are some of the best tastes in all of Rome.
As you face the Pantheoon entrance, turn according to your desire:
For lunch, turn right to: Armando al Pantheon, (Closed Saturday night and Sunday), a family run restaurant for perfect Roman specialties like spaghetti cacio e pepe and baby lamb
For fantastic espresso, go left toTazza D’Oro, Via degli Orfani 84
For legendary gelato, make an about face and walk a few blocks to Giolitti, Via Uffici del Vicario 40, open daily 7 a.m.-2a.m.
For exquisite handmade chocolate, zig-zag to your left to Confetteria Moriondo e Gariglio, Via di Pie’ di Marmo 21-22, a fairtytale of a shop that’s been around for over a hundred years.