St. Louis bay

The bay dedicated to St. Louis of France, was built in 1270, the date of the death of the holy king, to guard his mortal remains. Louis IX, in fact, died in Tunis while participating in the Eighth Crusade. A dispute soon broke out between Charles I of Anjou and the son of King Philip III, which resulted in some of the mortal remains being transferred to the cathedral of Saint Denis in France. A decorated box containing his heart remained in Monreale. The bay is located in the left wing of the presbytery and currently contains the relic altar dedicated to the Saint at the end of the area’s northern wall. The current altar that guards the tomb was commissioned by Bishop Luigi de Torres in the 16th century. In Baroque style, it features a sarcophagus with the king’s insignia and a shrine above with marble columns and Corinthian capitals. The broken tympanum decorated with volutes is topped with an eagle. In the centre of the aedicule, there is a painting showing St. Louis in regal attire.