Mausoleo di Costanza

Architecture & Buildings

Europe, Italy, Rome

Santa Costanza is a 4th century church in Rome, Italy, on the Via Nomentana. Construction began during the reign of Emperor Constantine I around 350 AD. He had it built as a mausoleum for his daughter Constantina (also known as Constantia or Costanza) who died in 354 AD. His other daughter Helena, wife of Julian, who died in 360 AD, was also buried here. In the early Middle Ages it was dedicated as a church to Santa Costanza (Saint Constance). Santa Costanza stands now in a very similar fashion as to when it was first built. A few of the mosaics have had some minor damage and incorrect restoration but for the most part it stands in excellent condition as a prime example of early Christian art and architecture. It was built next to, and in connection with, the basilica of Santa Agnese or Saint Agnes. Unfortunately, only the catacombs and substructures of this basilica still exist. One key component which is missing from Santa Costanza is the art of the central dome. But luckily, in the sixteenth-century, drawings were taken of this central dome so the artwork can be reconstructed and examined. One key component which is not missing, and is extremely valuable to both the Art and History disciplines, is the sarcophagus of Constantina. It has been preserved in excellent condition and although it does not currently reside at Santa Costanza, it is housed in the Vatican Museums and can be viewed there. Overall, most of Santa Costanza has been preserved extremely well.