Santa Maria in Domnica, also known as Santa Maria alla navicella

It is a basilica in Rome. It stands on the top of the Celio hill, in the current Piazza della Navicella. It is the seat of the Titulus S. Mariae in Domnica, established in 678 by Pope Agathon. The attribute “in Domnica” has been the subject of different interpretations. One derives it from dominicum, “of the Lord”.

Another refers to the name of Ciriaca, a woman who lived near the church, and whose name would have meant “belonging to the Lord”.

The alternative attribute “alla navicella” refers to the Roman sculpture of a ship already placed in ancient times in the small square in front of the church, which was then lost and rebuilt under Pope Leo A first church was built here in ancient times, near the barracks of the fifth cohort of the Vigiles of Rome.

The church is remembered in the acts of the synod of Pope Symmachus in 499. Pope Paschal I, whose papacy coincided with an era of renewal and artistic splendor that involved Rome at the beginning of the 9th century, rebuilt the basilica in 818- 822, providing it with a notable mosaic display.

A substantial restoration, aimed at treating serious humidity infiltrations and repairing damage, but also at reconstituting the internal stylistic unity of the church (which had been closed for some time) and restoring the portico, was carried out at the end of the nineteenth century under the technical direction by Busiri Vici and the architect-engineer Gaetano Bonoli, sponsored by Cardinal Consolini and financed by Propaganda Fide.

On this occasion, the gate which is still in situ today was also manufactured and installed, and on 5 March 1882 the church was officially reopened.

The semi-annular confession under the apse was built in 1958 by Ildo Avetta, while the current (2011) arrangement of the presbytery dates back to 1985.

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