Cefalù Cathedral
the two towers

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

At first glance, the western façade of the Cathedral has a compositional structure that is independent from the rest of the building, functioning as a transverse link to the two towers accessible from different heights.The massive vertical momentum of the latter and the fact that they belong to the Norman period, however, still conceals an Islamic military reference to the presence of tall square parallelepipeds crowned by smaller structures. Their shape only gives this part of Cefalù Cathedral an Arabesque profile, to the extent that comparisons can be made with the minarets of Sfax and Kairouan . Among the elements attributable to Kairouan, in addition to the already mentioned square plan, we cannot overlook the attention to the geometric relationship between base and height, the presence of the lantern, the azrî crowned by the battlements at the top and the terrace in the middle of which it stands. The interior of the towers also hides spaces with structures present in the minarets of the western area, such as the presence of rooms arranged at various heights connected by spiral staircases, strategically linked to the system of pathways that ran along the perimeter of the building. However, apart from the latter explicitly Hispano-Maghreb references, the towers of the Cefalù Cathedral can be considered one of the examples of Romanesque churches bell towers .

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

The senses tell Context 1

Mosaic decoration

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

Under the crosses of the Bema

The towers and the western facade

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

A controversial interpretation

A remarkable ceiling

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

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The chapel of St. Benedict

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The king’s mark

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The Virgin Hodegetria

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

A new Cathedral

Worship services

The rediscovered chapel

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

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

A tree full of life

The original design

The area of the Sanctuary

A space between the visible and the invisible

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

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

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

Survey of the royal tombs

The lost chapel

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

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

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The cemetery of kings

Ecclesia munita

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

A palimpsest of history

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The Cathedral over the centuries

The stone bible

The mosaics of the presbytery

The Great Restoration

The southern portico

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

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

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The Kings’ Cathedrals

Transformations over the centuries

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

Palermo: the happiest city

The side aisles

The mosaics of the apses

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The longest aisle

The Chapel of the Kings

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

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

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The cultural substrate through time

The decorated facade

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The balance between architecture and light

Interior decorations

The Bible carved in stone

Roger II’s strategic design

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

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

The beginning of the construction site

A Northern population

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

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Squaring the circle