It was a temple devoted to various divinities, especially Mars, the founder of Rome. It was restored and rebuilt after a fire in the early 2nd century. In 608, the pope received it as a gift and turned it into a Christian church, as it is today. One enters through a rectangular portico featuring 16 columns, then continues into a vast circular space under one of the most beautiful cupolas in the world. Continue gazing skyward to admire the details of the cupola and you just might get dizzy. The tomb of the celebrated painter Raphael is also inside the building.
It is exceptionally well preserved; its continued use helps ensure it stays in very good condition. The Romans had extraordinary know-how and they were absolute masters of cement and concrete, which share the characteristic of hardening over time. A thorough visit will take about one hour. The staff at 9Hotel Cesàri are at your disposal to provide information, so don't way another day. Book your next stay.