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 king’s mark

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

A space between the visible and the invisible

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The cultural substrate through time

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The cemetery of kings

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

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

A tree full of life

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

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

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

The Kings’ Cathedrals

Under the crosses of the Bema

Survey of the royal tombs

The mosaics of the presbytery

A palimpsest of history

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

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

The Gualtiero Cathedral

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

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The Cathedral over the centuries

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

The stone bible

The Chapel of the Kings

The southern portico

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The longest aisle

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The area of the Sanctuary

The lost chapel

The towers and the western facade

The Bible carved in stone

Mosaic decoration

A remarkable ceiling

The mosaics of the apses

A controversial interpretation

Palermo: the happiest city

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

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

The original design

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

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

The side aisles

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The balance between architecture and light

The beginning of the construction site

A new Cathedral

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

Transformations over the centuries

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The Great Restoration

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Roger II’s strategic design

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

The senses tell Context 1

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The rediscovered chapel

A Northern population

Squaring the circle

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Interior decorations

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Worship services

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

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

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

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The decorated facade

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

The Virgin Hodegetria

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

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The chapel of St. Benedict

Ecclesia munita