‼️ THE PANTHEON AND ITS MARBLES: REAL AND FAKE.
✅ The portico of the Pantheon has huge granite columns, but three of them were lost and were replaced in the seventeenth century, one by Pope Urban VIII Barberini and the other two by Pope Alexander VII Chigi. In fact, the capitals bear the coats of arms of the two families. The other columns are all original.
✅ The bronze portal is still the Roman one, as well as the gilt bronze frame of the oculus of the dome. The marbles of the floor were restored in the nineteenth century, however, reusing the original ones (where possible) and respecting the design and pattern of the colors.
✅ Inside the Pantheon, three different levels can be distinguished. The lower one, with large exedras and aediculae; then the upper level, called the 'attic' and at the top the coffers of the grandiose dome.
✅ Visitors think that the marble on the walls are still those of Emperor Hadrian. Actually… not all that glitters is gold! Most of the original marbles have in fact been removed and replaced with less precious marbles or even with frescoes that imitate marble.
✅ The huge columns of the lower floor with the magnificent capitals are obviously original: they could not be removed, otherwise the building would collapse. The smaller columns of the aediculae, some in precious red porphyry, were instead replaced with others of less valuable marble. In the lower part of the walls a plinth in pavonazzetto marble was placed, all the rest has faux marble frescoes.
✅ In the eighteenth century, during the restorations commissioned by Pope Benedict XIV, the ancient marbles of the attic were also disassembled and made to disappear; a great scandal broke out which was hushed up. The marbles were replaced with other faux marble frescoes, completely altering the original design, partially rebuilt in the 1930s.
‼️ Real marbles… or fake ones?