Buongiorno! My name is Esteban Martinez! I am a second year student at UC Merced, with an Economics major and a double minor in Spanish, and Community Engaged Research and Service (CRS). I am currently studying abroad in the ancient city of Rome, Italy, at the UC Study Center, less than 10 miles east of the Vatican.

I am not even a week into studying abroad, and I have already gotten to see Pope Francis in person on Easter Sunday! Believe it or not, these next four months will be filled with even bigger and more exotic adventures! The staff members of the UC Education Abroad Program are almost as excited as the students are. They have set up several interactive events that let us experience the essence of Rome, such as cooking classes, site visits, dinners and much more!

Today for my “Changing Faces of a Capitol” class, we took a field trip to one of Italy’s most glorified monuments, the Pantheon. Our professor gave us a walk-through of the ancient structure as she told us about it from an eye-opening perspective, which we never would have been able to hear if we had simply gone as tourists. We were able to view the Pantheon from architectural, artistic and pedagogical points of view.

The Pantheon in Roman, Italy
The Pantheon in Rome, Italy (credit: Esteban Martinez)

The building itself was originally built around 27-25 B.C. by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, and was rebuilt by Roman Emperor Hadrian in A.D. 118-125. While the Pantheon has served as many things, it is most noted as the tomb of of the Renaissance artist Raphael, a former Roman Senate building, and a church!


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