- G2 Façade Spire
- 25 Aug Actors Palm
According to hagiography of the 6th century, Genesio was a professional mime and Court comedian in Rome in the years when Diocletian was emperor. When Diocletian visited the city, Genesio was requested to stage a show, precisely to provide a burlesque imitation of the Christian baptism. Hence, Genesio initially pretended to be dying and asked for baptism on his deathbed. But when the baptismal water touched his forehead, he had a vision and actually converted to Christianity. So, from a farce, Baptism became a reality, before the eyes of the audience, which was clearly convinced that he was still acting. Always as a charade, he was captured by the guards, taken before the emperor and accused of practising an illegal religion. At that very moment Genesio made a public act of faith, accusing himself before Diocletian and the public. The emperor, understanding that the charade was over, ordered Genesio to be scourged and handed him to the Prefect Plauziano who tortured him and, finally, beheaded him. The statue of San Genesio we see on the façade today is not the original one. In fact, it is a reproduction of the mid-1900s by Mario Bassetti. It was produced because the original seems to have been destroyed by the 1943 bombings. The saint is portrayed as an athletic youth, almost entirely nude, looking to the west, towards the square.