The Santa Maria in Domnica Church is located near the entrance to the Villa Celimontana Park in Rome. Highlights of this 9th century church are the facade and, especially, the mosaics in the apse. At the moment the church can only be visited during mass.
Santa Maria in Domnica Church Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via della Navicella, 10 – Rome (tel. +39 06 77202685). Opening hours: At the moment the church is only open for liturgical celebrations, because of work on the new metro line C on the square in front of the building. Official name: Chiesa di Santa Maria in Domnica alla Navicella.
The Santa Maria in Domnica Church gets its name from the praedia dominica, the site where it was built, at the time the emperor’s property. Another interpretation is that the name originates from domnicum, a word that used to signify that the church in question was a Christian church. Some people hold that it is built on top of the house of Saint Ciriaca.
It was built in the 4th century and faces the Piazza della Navicella, which was named for the ship-shaped fountain adorning it.
The 16th century saw an thorough restoration of the Chiesa di Santa Maria in Domnica by the architect Andrea Sansovino.
The most important work of art in the church is a 9th century mosaic in the apse, which rather unusually portrays the Madonna as a fashion-conscious lady at a Byzantine court. She holds a handkerchief and Pope Pasquale I is kneeling at her feet. The Pope has a square halo, which signifies that, although still alive, he will probably achieve sainthood. The mosaic is considered a prime example of the Carolingian Renaissance, which harked back to, a.o. Byzantine art.