No other metropolis offered a comparable rich and closely interwoven legacy of built monuments and art treasures from antiquity to the modern age. The Pantheon is a prime manifestation of Rome’s special status as the “Eternal City”. The best-preserved edifice of Roman antiquity, it was converted into a Christian church in AD 609. Since the Renaissance it has moreover served as the final resting place of prominent personages, among them Raphael. In this shot, the building still boasts a feature today no longer extant—the bell towers by the great Roman Baroque artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Thanks to the angle of view, the photograph by the D’Alessandri brothers captures not only the temple façade with its
rectangular outline, but also the domed rotunda. At the same time it portrays the urban setting, complete with cafés, shops, and pedestrians, creating a suspenseful contrast between the permanence of the structure and the fugacity of the moment.