An earlier church on the site was given to the Confraternita dei Fornari, the Guild of Bakers, in 1500 by Pope Alexander VI
. It was very small, and they had it demolished a few years later to use the site for a bigger church.
The building of S. Maria di Loreto took place over a 60 year span. It was originally designed by Donato Bramante
in 1507, but very little was built for many years. In 1534 Antonio da Sangallo the Younger
completed the lower, cube-shaped part, which was covered by a temporary roof. The dome was designed in 1573 by Jacopo del Duca
, a scholar of Michelangelo. The elaborated lantern inspired many Baroque architects including Francesco Borromini.