Palermo Cathedral
The central body: the aisles

A new Cathedral

The transformation also affected the chapels and the side aisles, with the relocation of some of the rooms and, in particular, the movement of the southern portico by about five metres towards the forecourt. Small domes were placed on the side aisles to give light to the interior of the church, replacing the original windows that had been removed in the new structure of the building. The floor slabs and tombstones were removed and reused upside down as a covering for the plinth of the pillars. Enlightenment fervour had its place with the creation of a sundial ,

The Piazzi Sundial
Commissioned by Archbishop Filippo Lopez y Royo during the renovation of the Cathedral during the last decades of the 18th century, the sundial was designed in 1794/95 by Giuseppe Piazzi, a Theatine priest, professor of Astronomy at the University of Palermo and director of the Astronomical Observatory of the Royal Palace. Located in the area in front of the Sanctuary, it was completed and inaugurated in 1801, as suggested by a Latin inscription on the white marble plaque of the gnomon. The latter was made by drilling a hole, covered with a metal plate, into a limestone on the dome in front of the Chapel of St Francis of Paola. Consisting of a prismatic brass bar set into the floor, the sundial crosses the space in front of the aisle sanctuary obliquely and is also characterised by the representation of the signs of the zodiac, decorated with polychrome marble.

at the behest of Archbishop Philip Lopez y Royo .
The sundial was designed to “serve the public and decorate the Duomo”, with the aim of familiarising citizens with the measurement of time, according to the new European method .
In 1794, the task was entrusted to Giuseppe Piazzi , then Professor at the University of Palermo and Director of the Astronomical Observatory in the Royal Palace .
The sundial was placed inside the church, at the end of the nave, towards the transept, and is still visible and functional today. It receives light from an oriented hole in one of the small domes above the right side aisle. Another important modification involved the new arrangement of the royal tombs , moved from their original position in the right-hand Great Presbytery space of the Titulo , grouped together in a new large chapel built at the beginning of the right-hand nave.
The tombs of the bishops  were, instead, moved and placed in the so-called crypt .
After the restorations, the reopening of the cathedral for worship on 4 June 1801, on the feast of Corpus Christi , and the solemn consecration of the cathedral was celebrated on 4 June 1815, the same day as the last decorations were completed..
The structure thus defined has remained to this day

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The beginning of the construction site

Interior decorations

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

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

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The longest aisle

A tree full of life

The southern portico

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The side aisles

Roger II’s strategic design

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

A new Cathedral

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The lost chapel

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

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

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

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

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The towers and the western facade

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

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

The Virgin Hodegetria

The balance between architecture and light

Mosaic decoration

A Northern population

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The senses tell Context 1

Ecclesia munita

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The king’s mark

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

The cultural substrate through time

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

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

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The Cathedral over the centuries

Squaring the circle

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

The cemetery of kings

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

A space between the visible and the invisible

The mosaics of the presbytery

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

A remarkable ceiling

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

Palermo: the happiest city

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

Worship services

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The stone bible

The mosaics of the apses

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

A controversial interpretation

Transformations over the centuries

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

The Great Restoration

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The decorated facade

The Chapel of the Kings

The Bible carved in stone

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

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

A palimpsest of history

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The rediscovered chapel

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The chapel of St. Benedict

The area of the Sanctuary

The original design

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

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

Survey of the royal tombs

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Under the crosses of the Bema

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