The basilica stands along via Portuense and was built at the behest of Pope Damasus - in the 4th century AD - within the catacombs of Generosa where the martyrs Simplicius, Faustina and Beatrice were buried.
The semi-underground place of worship, brought to light following archaeological investigations conducted during the second half of the 19th century, was a large building divided into three naves of different widths. It was conceived with an irregular plan to facilitate entry into the catacombs which occurred through the Introitus ad Martyres door, to the right of the apse.
Several tombs found inside testify that the basilica was also used as a burial place. Following its abandonment, which took place at the end of the sixth century, the remains of the martyrs were moved to the basilica of Santa Bibiana.
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