Palermo Cathedral
The Kings’ tombs

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

Four sarcophagi are placed in corresponding areas of the chapel, that of Roger II and Constance of Hauteville in the background, the funerary monuments of Frederick II and Henry VI in the first position. The first King of Sicily rests in a sepulchre, with a rectangular case, covered with slabs of red porphyry with a sloping lid, supported by a sculptural group of four male figures. Queen and Empress Constance of Hauteville lies in a red porphyry sarcophagus, bearing the epitaph “Romanorum imperatrix, semper augusta et regina Siciliae“. Both sarcophagi are surmounted by marble canopies; those for Roger II and Constance of Hauteville are in white marble, supported by columns decorated with mosaics with geometric motifs, together with the entablature.
The two sarcophagi of Henry VI and Frederick II have grey marble and porphyry slab roofs, supported by six porphyry columns. The entablature of the canopy covering the emperor’s sarcophagus contains anthropomorphic protomes. The sarcophagus, which contains the remains of Frederick II, is decorated with very complex Islamic iconography. In fact, the similarity between the lions painted on the ceiling of the Palatine Chapel and those which are sculpted to support the sarcophagus can be seen. Other classical and Byzantine references, recurrent in Norman iconography, include the clipei on the lid with the Pantocrator, the Madonna and Child and the Symbols of the Evangelists. The iconography alludes to the triumph of imperial power while the lion-shaped supports echo the beasts depicted in the original Hauteville arms.
Frederick II’s first wife, Constance of Aragon rests in a late antique white marble sarcophagus, decorated with an exciting hunting scene, set into the right wall of the Chapel of the Royal Tombs. In the sarcophagus, covered with sloping roofs, there is the inscription “Sicanie regina fui Constantia coniux augusta hic habito nunc Federice tua”.

The Sarcophagus of Constance Aragon
Frederick II’s first wife, Constance of Aragon, daughter of Peter of Aragon, rests in a white marble sarcophagus from the late Antiquity period. The sarcophagus, built into the right wall of the Chapel of the Royal Tombs, has a gable decoration with an exciting hunting scene and a sloping roof. The tomb also bears an inscription identifying the queen, who died in Catania in 1222: “Sicanie regina fui Constantia coniux augusta hic habito nunc Federice tua”. The interior of the tomb was inspected in 1491 at the behest of Viceroy Ferdinand de Acuña. Numerous jewels were found, which are now kept in the Cathedral treasury: the sumptuous crown, crafted in Palermo Tiraz, five rings and a silver plaque.
The mosaics of the presbytery

Worship services

The longest aisle

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

A space between the visible and the invisible

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

Mosaic decoration

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The towers and the western facade

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The Chapel of the Kings

The cultural substrate through time

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

Survey of the royal tombs

The king’s mark

Roger II’s strategic design

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

The area of the Sanctuary

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

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

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

Interior decorations

The senses tell Context 1

Squaring the circle

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

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

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

The Kings’ Cathedrals

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

A palimpsest of history

The stone bible

The Gualtiero Cathedral

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

A tree full of life

The lost chapel

The chapel of St. Benedict

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

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The Virgin Hodegetria

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

Ecclesia munita

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

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

Under the crosses of the Bema

The rediscovered chapel

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The Bible carved in stone

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Palermo: the happiest city

A remarkable ceiling

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The balance between architecture and light

A new Cathedral

The southern portico

The decorated facade

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The Cathedral over the centuries

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

A controversial interpretation

The Great Restoration

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

A Northern population

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The side aisles

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

Transformations over the centuries

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

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The original design

The beginning of the construction site

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The mosaics of the apses

The cemetery of kings

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

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