The Mosaics of Santa Costanza

The circular, round ambulatory of Santa Costanza is completely covered with some of the most glorious early Christian mosaics you will find anywhere. Some focus on complex geometric patterns:

The curved, round ambulatory of Santa Constanza
The curved, round ambulatory of Santa Costanza

Others, like the photo at the top of this post, combine geometric shapes with little images incorporating familiar pagan icons such as putti, maidens in flowing dresses, and little creatures and birds… indeed, there are many gorgeous birds here, often set in a garden scene.

One of the many gorgeous birds in a garden, surrounded by lush plants
One of the many gorgeous birds in a garden, surrounded by lush plants

Complex, curving grape vines are one of the plants shown, and in some scenes we see people crushing those grapes to make them into wine:

Stomping the grapes
Stomping the grapes

Finally, the wine would go into graceful amphorae:

Amphora surrounded by grape vines
Amphora surrounded by grape vines

If you have an interest in early Christian art, you must put a visit to Santa Costanza on your list of sites to visit in Rome. These mosaics are gorgeous!

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