Via Nomentana, 349
You are along the route: IN HOC SIGNO VINCES. CONSTANTINE CHRISTIAN EMPEROR
Every day. Monday-Saturday 9:00-12.00 and 15:00-17:00. Sunday and religious holidays 15:00-17:00. Admission fee.
The tunnels of the catacombs of Sant’agnese, the young martyr who died in 305 AD, were discovered by chance in 1865 and extend under the Basilica and the surrounding area They are on three levels and were divided into four regions by the nineteenth century archaeologist, Mariano Armellini. No pictorial decorations are visible but various inscriptions, including the epitaph of Sabina, who wanted to be buried at the tomb of her patron, and a Constantinian monogram stone decorated with enamels and accompanied by a paraphrase of the motto of the Battle of Ponte Milvio: In hoc signo Sirici vinces.
Foto Pontificia Commissione di Archeologia Sacra
Always visible from Piazza Annibaliano.
Sant’Agnese fuori le mura was built in sign of the devotion of Constance, daughter of the emperors Constantine and Fausta, for the martyr Agnes who had cured her of leprosy. The construction of the building dates back to one single phase, the great period of development experienced in Rome under Constantine and his dynasty: the structure, of which some ruins are still visible from Piazza Sant’Annibaliano, had three aisles, with an apse and a corridor ring (ambulatory) that ran around the central hall. The nave housed a small rectangular building with apse, which was to contain the “mensa martyris” to replace the original placed on the tomb of Agnes. The Constantinian basilica was abandoned in the seventh century when, during the pontificate of Honorius I, in the seventh century, the present Basilica of Sant’Agnese was built.
Every day. Monday-Saturday 9:00-12:00 and 15:00-18:00. Sunday and religious holidays 15:00-18:00. Free entry.
Behind the Basilica, Constance had built her own mausoleum, transformed first into a baptistery and later, in 1254, into a church. The building, with central layout, is topped by a dome supported by twelve pairs of granite columns. The ambulacrum covered with barrel vaults, is completely covered with fourth century mosaics with alternating combinations of geometric patterns, nature motifs (peacocks, doves), harvest scenes and portraits. On the walls there are niches decorated with mosaics representing Christ giving St Peter a scroll, a symbol of the transmission of the Gospel message, the foundation of papal authority. In the niche opposite the entrance, decorated with a starry sky, is the copy of the sarcophagus of Constance of which the original is in the Vatican Museums.
Every day 07:30-12:00 and 15:00-19:30. Free entry.
The present basilica was built by Pope Honorius I in the seventh century AD, at the same time abandoning the previous building, built in the fourth century by Constance, daughter of the emperors Constantine and Fausta, for the martyr Agnes who had cured her leprosy. The interior, preceded by a narthex, is divided into three naves by columns with Corinthian capitals. In the apse, the seventh century mosaic depicts in the middle St. Agnes, dressed as an eastern empress with the symbols of martyrdom, the sword and the reddish flames, at her feet, and at the sides popes Symmachus and Honorius, the latter with a model of the church. At the top, between reddish clouds and blue bands studded with stars, the hand of God reaches out to put the holy crown of martyrdom on the head of the saint.
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