The Mausoleum of Saint Costanza is located along the Via Nomentana in Rome and is part of a larger complex that includes the Catacombs of Sant’Agnese, the Church of Sant’Agnese and a bigger basilica dating back to the times of Constantine.
Mausoleum of Costanza Rome
The address of the Mausoleo di Costanza is Via Nomentana, 349 Rome (tel. +39 0686205456 ). Metro: Sant’Agnese/Annibaliano (B1); Bus: 60, 60L, 82, 90, 168, 310, 544, N2L, N4, N13. Opening hours: 9 AM till noon and 4 PM till 6 PM. Free admission.
History Mausoleo di Costanza
The Mausoleum of Saint Costanza (Saint Constance, in English) was probably constructed in two phases. The first of these took place between 337 and 351 and was done by order of either the Emperor himself or his daughter (for whom the mausoleum was meant to be built). The mausoleum was completed after Costanza‘s death, in 354.
The mausoleum, which was built near the churchyard of Sant’Agnese would later be transformed into the baptistery of the Basilica of Sant’Agnese.
In 1254 the mausoleum was made a church by Pope Alexander IV, who dedicated it to Costanza, by then revered as a Saint.
The round mausoleum is covered by a cupola with a tholobate containing 12 big arched windows. Around the central nave there are 2 pairs of 12 columns (originally part of a Roman temple) supporting a vault. The ambulatory thus created is decorated with mosaics depicting harvest scenes, as well as flowers, fruit and fantastical birds and animals, plus portraits of Santa Costanza and her first husband, Annibiliano.
The inside of the cupola has a 22,50 meter diameter and used to be covered with mosaics. These, as well as the inlaid marble decorations of the walls, were moved by Pope Urban VIII, when it was thought that the building was about to collapse (1630).
Tourist Attractions Mausoleum of Costanza
- Some 13th century frescoes can still be seen, made in a transitional period between the Roman-Byzantine and the more artistically refined later era.
- Costanza‘s sarcophagus in a niche near the entrance is a copy. The original was moved to the Vatican Museums while restoration works were going on in 1620.
- One of the mosaics is quite unique, since Jesus is depicted beardless.