Palermo Cathedral
The central body: the aisles

Interior decorations

According to the historical record: “In 1185, Archbishop Gualtiero had images of saints painted on the ceilings, beams and their modillions against a gold background, either in their entirety or up to their navels. Several images of saints have been painted here which, because of their height, escape the eye so much that they cannot be identified by those standing on the floor of this temple. Full names marked in Greek letters are added to the pictures.”
The interior walls were not decorated, but finished in “ pietra rasa ” with a light coating of plaster, which gave the interior of the cathedral a soft glow that brought out the dominant yellow-gold and blue colours of the roof.
No preparatory traces of a mosaic covering have been found, whereas the mosaic covering is characteristic of the contemporary construction of the Monreale Cathedral .
The floor was made up of “marble tiles and precious stones, i.e. mosaic flecked with various coloured incrustations, with different slabs cut at once and diversified in various kinds”.
Therefore, it was a “ cosmatesque ” mosaic floor, a decoration typical of the medieval period and characteristic of the floors of other contemporary Norman churches, with the exception of the Cefalù Cathedral which has a red mamo floor in the presbytery area and grey lumachella limestone in the naves. In later centuries, the largely degraded mosaic floor was replaced with large marble and granite slabs, interspersed with tomb slabs, for the custom of burying the bodies of prelates and nobles inside churches.
This particular feature, now lost, gave Palermo Cathedral the distinction of being counted by historians as one of the churches with the greatest number of tomb slabs inserted within its flooring.

A space between the visible and the invisible

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The mosaics of the apses

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

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

Roger II’s strategic design

Ecclesia munita

Palermo: the happiest city

A remarkable ceiling

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The cultural substrate through time

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

The side aisles

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The Cathedral over the centuries

Mosaic decoration

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The original design

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The Virgin Hodegetria

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

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

A tree full of life

Worship services

The senses tell Context 1

The Gualtiero Cathedral

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

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

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

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

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 king’s mark

A controversial interpretation

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

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

The Chapel of the Kings

The lost chapel

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

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The decorated facade

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

A palimpsest of history

The rediscovered chapel

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Under the crosses of the Bema

The southern portico

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The cemetery of kings

Beyond the harmony of proportions

Transformations over the centuries

A Northern population

The area of the Sanctuary

The beginning of the construction site

The Great Restoration

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The balance between architecture and light

The stone bible

The chapel of St. Benedict

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

Interior decorations

The mosaics of the presbytery

A new Cathedral

The longest aisle

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

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

Survey of the royal tombs

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

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Squaring the circle

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

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The Bible carved in stone

The towers and the western facade

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