southern portico

Designed by Antonio Gambara in 1429, the Cathedral’s portico was also built using reused materials. It is contained between two lateral pylons with a triple order in a repeated pattern. Entrance is gained through three pointed arches resting on reused columns with capitals decorated with plant motifs. The three arches are decorated with a twisted frame. Particularly noteworthy is the depiction of the tree of life, dating back to approximately the 13th century. This was discovered during a recent restoration and is located between the three arches and the decorative part of the frieze. The latter, however, is lined with a procession of saints, interspersed with the coats of arms of the Kingdom of Sicily, the Senate of Palermo and Palermo Cathedral. Holy Virgins, Prophets, Apostles, Doctors of the Church and Evangelists appear to be parading in a tight procession proclaiming and witnessing the word of God. In the triangular space of the tympanum, in the centre, God the Father is dressed in his Papal robes, while the Annunciation is depicted on the sides: the Heralding Angel on the left and the Virgin Mary on the right. The entire narrative is surrounded by flamboyant spiral motifs.