The Mausoleum stands on Via Nomentana and includes the Mausoleum of Santa Costanza and the Catacombs of Sant’Agnese. The entire area developed between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD and includes catacombs spread over three floors.
A hypogean cemetery whose development is linked to the martyrdom of the very young Agnes during the anti-Christian persecutions of the III century; and to the martyr Agnes, whose body was laid here between the middle of the third and the beginning of the fourth century.
History of the complex on Via Nomentana
The body of the martyr Agnese was buried in a gallery on the first floor of the complex, a Christian cemetery already existing at the time. Precisely in this area of the cemetery, on the first floor, a small basilica with a single nave was built in the 4th century.
Both the Mausoleum of Santa Costanza and the basilica today reduced to ruins, were of imperial property and therefore not ecclesiastical. Only at the end of the Middle Ages became an independent church. Starting from the Renaissance, a historical season marked by the rebirth of beauty, the entire complex became the object of great interest for architects all over the world.
It is, in fact, the first example of a central building with an ambulatory, or a passage corridor. Originally it was surrounded by a portico, now no longer present.
Visit to the Mausoleum of Santa Costanza and Catacombs of Santa Agnese
The complex of buildings is located on Via Nomentana, after the intersection with Viale XXI Aprile, and is formed by the church of S. Agnese, the catacombs, a large basilica and the mausoleum of S. Costanza. All sites that can be visited during a single visit.
The catacombs date back to the period between the third and fourth centuries AD and are divided into various regions, four to be exact, arranged on three floors. On the first floor of the cemetery, a small single-aisle basilica was built in the 4th century where the corpse of the saint was laid.
Also, on the whole, are the remains of a large basilica with three naves built by the will of Constantine or his daughter Costanza between 337 and 350 AD. The Mausoleum of Santa Costanza stands on one side of the basilica and was built around the middle of the fourth century.
The sarcophagus of Costanza in red porphyry was initially housed in this building while today it is kept in the Vatican Museums. In the tomb of S. Agnese, another basilica with three naves was built at the behest of Pope Honorius, with an apse facing the Via Nomentana. A complex full of historical and artistic cues as a whole and that is why it is particularly requested by visitors who go to Rome for tourism reasons.