Basilica di Sant'Agnese fuori le mura (Saint Agnes Outside the Wall), Rome

"Basilica di Sant'Agnese fuori le mura (Saint Agnes Outside the Wall), Rome" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Wednesday 11th January 2012

Basilica di Sant'Agnese fuori le mura (Saint Agnes Outside the Wall), Rome

Sant'Agnese fuori la mura (Saint Agnes Outside the Wall) is a basilica church in Rome, in which Saint Agnes's bones are reputed to rest. The underground area and built a large private mausoleum over it which is now known as the "mausoleo di Santa Costanza" (she was venerated as saint, even though she was not one officially), while the church of Saint Agnes was then built aside.

It is one of the most important cemetery basilicas in Rome built on the catacombs of St Agnes to honor the young martyr. It was probably built by the daughter of emperor Constantine, Constantia, in the middle of the 4th century, on her estate next to the tomb of St Agnes (304 A.D.). Next to it, Constantia built the mausoleum in which she and her sister Helena were buried.

It was first restored by pope St Symmachus in the early 6th century and reconstructed by Honorius I in the 7th century, when basilica was already in ruins. Afterwards it was restored by Hadrian I, Paul V (1614) and Pius IX. The level of basilica could be approached by 45 white marble steps leading down built in 1590 and decorated by sculptural fragments and burial inscriptions.

The apse of the basilica is in Via Nomentana with its beautiful 15th century bell-tower. A tower with the coat-of-arms of Julius II adjoins the church; it is what left from the fortifications once defending the basilica. A hall beside the entrance is decorated with the painting celebrating the collapse of the floor of the room above, which took place here during the visit of Pius IX on April 12, 1855, which didn't harm pope in anyway.

Interior is on a basilican plan with the nave separated from aisles by 14 ancient Roman columns, In the second chapel on the right is a Cosmatesque altar, a relief by A.Bregno (1490), a bust of Christ by N.Cordier (copy from Michelangelo's lost work), and a 15th century fresco Madonna and Child. The high altar preserves the relics of St Agnes. The apse mosaic remained from the epoch of Honorius I (7th century) and represents St Agnes between the popes Symmachus and Honorius I. The dedicatory inscription below records how much Honorius spent on the church. The entrance to the Catacombs of St Agnes in the left aisle. These are the best preserved Roman Catacombs, discovered in 1865. It doesn't have paintings, but numerous inscriptions, as well as many intact loculi. The catacombs may date from 258 A.D.. Here is the chapel where the body of St Agnes was found.

Basilica di Sant'Agnese fuori le mura (Saint Agnes Outside the Wall)
Via Nomentana, 349, 00162 Roma, Italy
Shown By "Map C Zone" As "7"
Tel: +39 06 861 0840
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