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.

The chapel of St. Benedict

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

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

Survey of the royal tombs

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The decorated facade

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

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

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

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

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

A tree full of life

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

Transformations over the centuries

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

Squaring the circle

Palermo: the happiest city

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The Cathedral over the centuries

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

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

The longest aisle

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

A Northern population

The cultural substrate through time

A new Cathedral

The Chapel of the Kings

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The Kings’ Cathedrals

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

The Virgin Hodegetria

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The area of the Sanctuary

The cemetery of kings

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

The mosaics of the apses

A space between the visible and the invisible

Roger II’s strategic design

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

Mosaic decoration

The towers and the western facade

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

Beyond the harmony of proportions

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The beginning of the construction site

The lost chapel

A palimpsest of history

The mosaics of the presbytery

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The senses tell Context 1

Worship services

The stone bible

Under the crosses of the Bema

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

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

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

The rediscovered chapel

The Gualtiero Cathedral

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

The original design

The balance between architecture and light

A remarkable ceiling

The Bible carved in stone

The southern portico

The Great Restoration

Interior decorations

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The side aisles

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

Ecclesia munita

The king’s mark

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

A controversial interpretation

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time