Sant’Agnese Fuori le Mura

21 Jan
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Mosaics

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Mosaics

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Exterior

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St. Agnese

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Interior of Santa Costanza

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St Agnese

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Close up of an image of a drunk Peter

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Interior shot

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Mosaic depicting the harvest and wine making

A visit to Sant’Agnese Fuori le Mura in Rome is slightly complicated.  You are really visiting multiple sites in one space (including the mausoleum of Santa Costanza).  Since today is the feast day of this saint, I thought I would post a few photos of our visit this past weekend.  Originally erected by Constantina, sometimes known as Constanza in the IV century it has undergone many transformations.    It is a great visit outside the walls of Rome and easy to get to.  It has great examples of Byzantine mosaics, the archeological remains are well preserved to show us how a circiforme church would have worked, there are catacombs as well.  My favorite story is the group of Dutch “intellectuals” in the 17th century who took over the circular Santa Costanza as a place to hold bacchanal.  There is graffiti all over the place.  They mistook all of the artwork depicting the harvest and winemaking as a sign that this was a former place of worship of the god Bacchus.  In fact winemaking and the harvest are common symbols in early Christianity.  Just right across the way, the nuns and priests were devoted to their sweet saint Agnese., who most likely never existed.

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