The Emperor Maxentius had it built at the beginning of the IV century, it was an enormous rectangular building divided into three naves, one of the short sides constituted the main façade (facing east) while the other projected in an apse. The whole construction rested on a platform of 100X65 mt.
by Constantine who opened the entrance to the façade overlooking
the Sacred Way (preceded by a porch of four porphyry columns still
visible) and he also added an apse to the north side. The central nave was
covered with three cross-vaults resting on eight monolithic columns 14 mt.
high (only one column from the complex survives, raised in 1613 in front
of Santa Maria Maggiore). The grandiose building housed the colossal
statue of Constantine (some fragments in marble are now in the courtyard
of the Palace of the Conservatori on the Capitol Hill)
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