Rome – Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, & the Pantheon

Hi friends, welcome back to my Italy series! After visiting the Borghese Gallery, Jon and I had some time to kill before our next excursion so we took a scenic route back. We started by walking down all 138 of the beautiful Spanish Steps. Sadly we had just missed all the flowers that adorn the steps in the spring. We had our pictures taken here two days later and the steps were pretty empty at 8am. Make sure you don’t try to sit on the steps because it’s forbidden and the rule was being enforced.

At the bottom of the steps is the Sinking Boat Fountain built by Bernini’s dad Pietro. The water is from the same aqueduct as the Trevi Fountain, but the pressure is weak here, so he designed a modest fountain.

No trip to Rome would be complete without a stop at the Trevi Fountain. This fountain was built by Nicola Salvi in 1762 to celebrate the reopening of the ancient aqueduct that feeds into the fountain. The name Trevi comes from the three ancient roads that converged here. Water rushes out of 24 spouts of and the middle figure is called “Ocean” and symbolizes every form of water. We went around 12pm and as we predicted, it was pretty chaotic.

We also went at 7am for our pictures and it was still relatively busy but luckily our photographer knows how to photoshop people out. I would say the crowds were like visiting Times Square in NYC. You almost want to see it as fast as you can and then get out.

Our hotel was located a few blocks from the Pantheon, so we got to see this amazing sight every day. It was originally built in 27 BC by Emperor Augustus’ son-in-law Marcus Agrippa as a temple dedicated to all gods. There were some fires that destroyed the prior temple and the current one was built by Emperor Hadrian around 120AD to look like a Greek temple. The Pantheon is the only ancient building in Rome in continuous use since its construction. We listened to a short Rick Steves audio guide while we marveled at the interior of this ancient building.


Outside there are 16 columns that reach 40 feet tall, 15 feet around, and are made from a single 60-ton piece of granite shipped from Egypt. It’s amazing to think how they were able to do this without electricity or technology, although they did have a lot of slave power. The ceiling was covered in bronze, but it was melted down and used to build the canopy over the alter at St. Peters in the 17th century.

The bronze doors are original and span 23 feet tall.

It had rained the morning we went inside, so they had the center roped off. The oculus at the top is 30 feet across, so a good amount of weather can get it. It is also the only source of light in the Pantheon. About 80% of the floor is original and there are slants and holes to let the water drain. They seemed to work because it didn’t seem wet inside.

The famous Pantheon dome is 142 feet tall and wide. The mathematical perfection is impressive and inspired the Florence cathedral, St. Peters, and the US Capitol. The dome is made of concrete (a Roman invention) that gets thinner as it rises. The base of the dome is 23 feet thick, but at the top it’s only 5 feet thick. The squares at the top aren’t only for aesthetics, they help reduce the weight of the dome without sacrificing support.

The main alter used to hold a statue of Jupiter, King of the Gods, but after the fall of Rome the Pantheon became a Christian church which saved it from destruction. The other niches were dedicated to various Roman gods.

Raphael, the famous Italian painter, requested to be buried here in his will. His coffin is to the left of the main alter and he commissioned the Madonna and Child statue above his tomb.

The Pantheon also houses the tomb of King Victor Emmanuel II, member of the House of Savoy and leader of Italy when it united in 1871. His son, Umberto I, became king after and is buried next to him alongside his wife Margherita. She is who Margherita pizza is named after, quite the legacy to leave behind. Unfortunately, the later rulers from this family supported Mussolini and abandoned Rome to the Germans when they went into exile. It wasn’t until 2003 that Savoy royals were allowed back on Italian soil.


I hope you enjoyed this tour of Rome’s most famous sites!

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32 thoughts on “Rome – Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, & the Pantheon

  1. Ahhh, the Eternal City. So familiar even though our visit was 39 years ago. Those crowds are ridonculous. That is why we no longer visit tourist places in summer vacation time. The Pantheon is still gorgeous. Thanks for sharing Lyssy. Allan

    1. I agree, we were there in mid-May so I can’t imagine what July and August are like! Plus the heat in summer would be miserable. The Pantheon has really stood the test of time.

  2. I did enjoy the visit, Lyssy. Your photos in front of the Trevi Fountain are gorgeous, and I love that you and Jon have them done on your trips. The Pantheon is amazing! Who knew that something that old would still be so beautiful today. Thank you for the tour.

    1. Thank you! It’s nice not just having selfies to remember out trips. We also like making gallery walls from our trips, but the iPhone pics get grainy when we try to make them big. The Pantheon is so incredible!

  3. You two had a wonderful photoshoot! Very romantic and a great way to encapsulate your honeymoon! The Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain are iconic to the Eternal City, and it looks like it was a wonderful time!

  4. I never knew who margherita pizza was named for, thanks for the fun fact! Also, those are enormous doors, I can’t imagine pulling them open.

  5. Great shot of the two of you on the Spanish Steps and by the Trevi Fountain without any people around! That’s always the benefit of getting an early start to the day. It’s crazy how rammed these places get later in the day.

    1. Thank you! It can be hard to get out of bed early, but it’s always worth it to avoid the crowds! I have a future post about the Vatican Museum and the before/after with the crowds is just insane.

  6. What a fabulous look at some of the most famous sights! I love the professional photos; they turned out great! I have never once thought of hiring a photographer while on vacation but always love seeing the photos when others do it.

    1. Thank you! It is nice to have professional pictures to remember the trip and our sessions are only an hour. Makes it easy when I make my Christmas cards 🙂

  7. The Pantheon is fantastic and that dome is spectacular. The chaotic scenes, like the one from Trevi fountain, is what puts me off Rome to be honest. However, there are so many amazing monuments and history that I’ll have to plan probably a winter visit some day. Beautiful shots of you two, a great memento to have from the trip.

    1. Thank you! Yeah we went in mid-May and I was surprised how busy Rome was. At least we didn’t have heat waves and crowds. Winter seems like a good idea when visiting cities/museums because you don’t have to worry about cold if you’re inside.

  8. I was so impressed with the Pantheon when we were there in 2021. Fortunately, there were very few people traveling when we were (end of September/early October) in Rome and it was truly enjoyable. Your photographer is quite talented to photoshop extras out of your pictures. Congrats on getting some great photos of the two of you.

    1. I bet that was amazing to visit Rome without all the crowds! We were definitely surprised how busy it was in May, but it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular place. Our photographer really is talented!

  9. Beautiful photos of you both at the Trevi Fountain. I’ve also visited a couple of times and it was busy then as well. It’s hard to believe that there would be many people around at 7.00 a.m.though!

    1. Thank you! We were so surprised how many were there at 7am. Our photographer said sometimes he gets there at 6 and it’s the same thing.

  10. Great places, I’ve loved passing through them again and again during my stays in Rome. With a bit of luck, there are times when the crowds aren’t too overwhelming.

  11. I’ve always thought of the Pantheon as a rather harsh design; very imposing and not at all welcoming to us tiny people. A building belonging more in Greece than in Rome. But the magnificent dome forgives the rest of its design. I’m sure you could’ve stared up at those coffers for hours. It’s something of a mystery how the ancient Romans constructed it – free-form concrete! One theory says they built it on top of a giant mound of sand, then literally dug the building out once the concrete had fully set.

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