25 Aug Pantheon By Night
Sure the Coliseum is amazing, and the Trevi Fountain will drop your jaw, but I’ve always found students to have a personal connection with this more approachable and intimate monument. Many see it by day, but few return at night, and even though you cannot enter it past certain hours, sitting on the piazza fountain steps by moonlight provides a complete experience in itself. Musicians will likely serenade you while you stare, and the famous Gelateria San Crispino is a only step away (try the house flavor San Crispino if you’re seeking a life-changing experience).
I recommend revisiting many historical sites at night, most historic Italian cities put a serious effort into dramatic up-lighting, but there’s something about the Pantheon that brings me back for night strolls more than the rest. You don’t have as many obnoxious Polaroid photographers (Trevi), and you don’t feel exposed and in the middle of nowhere (Coliseum). The Pantheon is lively at 9, romantic at midnight, and empty at 2. When you are facing the entrance, down to your left, there is a little grassy area where you can go and sit, and feel like you’re laying amongst the ruins. Bring a midnight picnic or gelato cone for a truly timeless moment.
If you’re actually studying and living in Rome, visit the Pantheon often. Use it as a late-night meeting place, and the restaurants surrounding the piazza are some of the few places you can find open restrooms after midnight. For an advanced Pantheon neighborhood challenge, see if you can find Bernini’s famous Elephant sculpture in the piazza to the left of the Pantheon…