Of ancient foundation, the church of Santa Maria in Domnica was largely rebuilt in the 16th century, at the behest of Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici, the future Pope Leo X (r. 1513-21). The church is also known as Santa Maria della Navicella, on account of the small stone boat that stands outside as part of a fountain.
The chief glory of Santa Maria in Domnica is the mosaic in the apse, which was commissioned by Pope Paschal I (r. 817-24).
High up on the nave walls, just below the ceiling, is a rather charming frieze, the work of Pierino del Vaga (1501-47) to a design by Giulio Romano (1499-1546). The lions are a clear reference to Pope Leo X.
The carved wooden ceiling (1566) in the nave was provided by Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici. The central panel depicts the coat of arms of the Medici family. The two other large panels depict Noah's Ark, with the dove returning and the text: SPES NOSTRA SALVE (Hail, our hope), and the Church symbolised by a ship. The ship is carrying a circular Classical temple. The door is open to reveal the Blessed Sacrament displayed in a monstrance. The text on the frieze of the entablature reads: DOMINVS FIRMAMENTVM.