After years of study and research and after various restoration works, which followed one another in a disorganised manner over time, the first complete and appropriate intervention to address the Monument’s conservation needs began in the 1980s. The project, developed and then directed by the Superintendency of Cultural Heritage of Palermo, involved the entire main body of the cathedral from the towers to the aisles. Conservative operations have been carried out on the external walls, on all the internal areas of the three naves and on the roofs, both for the central roof and for the two lateral roofs. Particular care was devoted to the painted boards and their preservation in situ, creating an air chamber to guarantee that the roof was ventilated and that the wood was preserved in optimum condition.
The interior of the naves was restored, with a formal recovery of the finish of the side walls, reorganising the spaces by repositioning some monuments, which had been found in a condition not in keeping with their surroundings. At that stage, the first part of the project for the new stained glass windows and the survey of all the irregular elements of the ancient Norman ambo was started, with a view to an organic project for its historical and documentary recovery.
In that period, the construction began in the Cathedral, giving life to an extraordinary and unique experience that revived the atmosphere of the ancient medieval building. Thus, a working group was formed, made up of engineers, architects, geologists, artisans and master builders, who were joined by artists and theologians, aiming to survey the Monument and understand what needed to be done in order to correctly conserve it. There was a climate of effervescent creativity, in search of the most suitable technological solutions. At the same time, they were immersed and guided by the historical and liturgical interpretation of the sites, which brought to light elements and pieces from the past, reconstructing the interrupted history of this magnificent temple like a great interlocking game.
This was followed by two other important interventions, between the end of the 1900s and the early 2000s, the first of which involved the area of the transept and the apses, with the second involving restoration of the cloister. This delicate and complex operation was aimed at recovering the spatial aspect of the ancient site, which had been damaged by fires and previous negligent operations.