Palermo Cathedral
St. Mary Magdalene

A controversial interpretation

This document, written by Gualtiero, was mistranslated in the past, leading to errors made by later historiographers and scholars who interpreted the chapel as having been demolished, failing to identify its exact location. A careful reading and translation of the above-mentioned petition shows that Gualtiero was not asking the King for permission to demolish the Chapel, but to grant it to the Clerics of the Cathedral and their liturgical services. At the same time, he wanted to be able to move the mortal remains of the nobles of the royal family which were kept there to another place, by building a new chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene. It should also be noted that the document is dated 1187, the 21st year of William II's reign , when the work of transforming the church had already been completed. It was reopened for worship on 6 April 1185, with a solemn consecration ceremony dedicated to the Blessed Virgin of the Assumption . The thesis that supported the belief in the chapel’s demolition was also based on a presumed rebuilding ab fundamentis of the Gualtierina Cathedral, shifting it a few metres from its former location as a former mosque and Byzantine basilica to the southern front.

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The mosaics of the presbytery

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The mosaics of the apses

The plasticism of the main portico and Bonanno Pisano’s Monumental Bronze Door

The cemetery of kings

The lost chapel

Transformations over the centuries

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Palermo: the happiest city

The chapel of the crucifix: an artistic casket based on a previous model

Tempus fugit: a strategic project implemented in a short period of time

Biblical themes enlivened by the dazzling light of the stained – glass windows overlooking the naves

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The stone bible

The senses tell Context 1

A new Cathedral

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The longest aisle

A compositional design that combines nordic examples with new artistic languages, over the centuries

The balance between architecture and light

The links between the hauteville family and the monastic orders in Sicily

The rediscovered chapel

Worship services

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

Thirteenth-century iconography decorates the nave’s wooden ceiling, designed with new solutions

The Great Restoration

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

A space between the visible and the invisible

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

A Northern population

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The Cathedral over the centuries

The decorated facade

A remarkable ceiling

The Virgin Hodegetria

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The Chapel of the Kings

Interior decorations

The king’s mark

The marble portal: an intimate dialogue between complex ornamental aspects and formal structure

Mosaic decoration

The architectural modifications ti the cathedral building after the death of Roger II and the transformations of the cloister

The side aisles

A palimpsest of history

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The original design

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The paradisiacal “Conca d’oro” that embraces Palermo: a name with countless faces through time

The area of the Sanctuary

From the main gate to the aisles: an invitation to a journey of faith

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Roger II’s strategic design

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The side Portico: a combination of elegance and lightness of form

A tree full of life

Squaring the circle

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

Beyond the harmony of proportions

Ecclesia munita

A controversial interpretation

The beginning of the construction site

The towers and the western facade

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The columns of the nave: the meticulous study of the overall order

Survey of the royal tombs

The Bible carved in stone

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The chapel of St. Benedict

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The southern portico

The cultural substrate through time

The Cefalù cathedral: a construction yard undergoing a change between a surge of faith and control over the territory

Under the crosses of the Bema

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The transformations of the hall through the centuries