Cefalù Cathedral
context 2

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

For the organisation of space in religious architecture, the year 1000 marked a period of revision of the solutions already initiated in the Carolingian era. The need for a renewed use of the liturgy took on not only symbolic but also rational importance, so much so as to modify the design of the sacred area. The increase in the number of clergy, who came to form a social group distinct from the community of the faithful, made it necessary to enlarge and raise the presbytery .This change gave the apse greater depth, reserving additional space for the creation of the choir which was placed in the nave in front of the altar.The reformulation of spaces, together with the introduction of secondary apses, emphasised the importance of the officiating religious over the faithful, who now attended the celebrations separated by fences (plutei in the Roman rite and iconòstasis in the Greek rite) which enclosed the presbytery. The overall impression of the building continues to reflect that of a vibrant arrangement of spaces, in which the dynamism of the projecting structural elements interacts with the recesses which mark the openings, such as windows and portals. In some religious buildings, characterised by thick walls, the is used to compensate for the greater height of the central nave compared to the side aisles. Almost as if to contrast with the elevated position of this gallery, the Romanesque church below its longitudinal plan, often with a transept , conceals crypts beneath the  presbytery, according to a tradition derived from the Carolingian and Ottonian periods.

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

Transformations over the centuries

A space between the visible and the invisible

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Mosaic decoration

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The cemetery of kings

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

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

The southern portico

Interior decorations

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

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

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

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

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

Squaring the circle

A controversial interpretation

The chapel of St. Benedict

A new Cathedral

The Cathedral over the centuries

The cultural substrate through time

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The longest aisle

The original design

The king’s mark

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

A tree full of life

Roger II’s strategic design

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

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

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

The lost chapel

Worship services

The beginning of the construction site

A Northern population

The side aisles

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The mosaics of the presbytery

The rediscovered chapel

Beyond the harmony of proportions

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

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

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The senses tell Context 1

Palermo: the happiest city

The area of the Sanctuary

The mosaics of the apses

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The stone bible

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

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The towers and the western facade

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

A remarkable ceiling

Survey of the royal tombs

The Chapel of the Kings

A palimpsest of history

The Virgin Hodegetria

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 Great Restoration

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The Kings’ Cathedrals

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

Under the crosses of the Bema

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

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

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The decorated facade

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

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The Bible carved in stone

Ecclesia munita

The balance between architecture and light