Monreale Cathedral
the Great Presbytery

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

With its volumes, the chapel dominates the area above the passageway and extends, with a central plan, covered by a hexagonal dome resting on a square and adorned with pairs of pilasters , alternating with the small windows inserted in the lantern .
The area’s layout consists a rectangular room containing an altar , flanked on the right by the sacristy and on the left by a transit area leading to a small bell tower.
The extraordinary decoration inside is introduced at the entrance by the imposing double-leaf yellow copper gate, designed by Angelo Italia and produced by Gaetano Signorello , as if to accompany the faithful on a journey of wonder.
The graceful dynamism of the ornaments and architecture that enliven the Chapel of the Crucifix is permeated by multicoloured inlays and sculptures representing the theme of Passion.
A courtly mysticism composed of rich forms, inscriptions and sculptures is also underlined by the emergence of biblical and theological meanings, visible immediately after crossing the red marble steps into the chapel. We seem to be witnessing the daring vision of a single project in which the decoration of every surface, even the smallest, is not spared by the heterogeneous inspiration of the artists, permeated by the rigorous approach of its client.
In contrast to the whiteness of the bare plaster of the dome, now stripped of the frescoes that once adorned it, as if interrupting a symphony of artistic combinations, four life-size statues of Old Testament prophets stand out in this sacred space, in the act of pointing to Christ and, implicitly, to his passion and death..
The Crucifix becomes the vanishing point of the entire environment and the centrepiece of various figurative cycles.

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

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

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

A remarkable ceiling

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The decorated facade

The king’s mark

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The Virgin Hodegetria

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

The senses tell Context 1

Roger II’s strategic design

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

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The cultural substrate through time

The cemetery of kings

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

Ecclesia munita

A palimpsest of history

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

The Cathedral over the centuries

The Chapel of the Kings

The longest aisle

The chapel of St. Benedict

Mosaic decoration

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

Survey of the royal tombs

The stone bible

A Northern population

Beyond the harmony of proportions

Squaring the circle

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

A controversial interpretation

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

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

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The mosaics of the presbytery

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The balance between architecture and light

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

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

A tree full of life

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

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

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

The rediscovered chapel

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The Bible carved in stone

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

The mosaics of the apses

The beginning of the construction site

A new Cathedral

Transformations over the centuries

Worship services

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

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The Kings’ Cathedrals

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

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

Interior decorations

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The area of the Sanctuary

The towers and the western facade

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

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

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The southern portico

The original design

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

A space between the visible and the invisible

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

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

The lost chapel

Palermo: the happiest city

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

The Great Restoration

The side aisles

Under the crosses of the Bema