Monreale Cathedral
the internal areas

The balance between architecture and light

The interior of the cathedral features an ever-increasing decorative rhythm on the surface of the walls and pillars, starting from the main entrance to the altar.
In the space between the naves , the wall area underneath the mosaics is covered in white marble and decorated with geometric polychrome inlays, inserted in vertical bands at regular intervals and enclosed by thin marble cornices. It is not certain whether the aisles were ornamented when the Cathedral was founded, although decoration was certainly part of the design.
The one we see today is the product of recent restorations .
Similarly, the wooden ceiling and the floor of the nave were also unfinished, although they were also completed at a later date in compliance with the client’s design.
The balanced arrangement of the columns that follow one another in the centre of the nave determines the dimensions of this main space, illuminated by nine windows arranged along the same axis as the colonnaded arches but at a lower level than the eastern body, thus influencing its decorative composition. Originally, the light sources , so sensitive to the changing seasons that they could affect the perception of colours inside the Temple, produced a totally different effect from the one we see today. Perforated lead plates on the windows made the interior quite dark for many centuries, until 1658. The need for a new liturgical arrangement made it necessary to replace the lead barriers, obstructing access to the sunlight, with new stained glass windows.
During the restoration carried out between 1957 and 1995, additional metal alloy barriers were added to mitigate the excessive light. As in all mediaeval churches, the sacred space was lit by the glow of candles. In Monreale, the candles glowed softly in the large metal chandeliers supported from above by iron chains.

The towers and the western facade

A controversial interpretation

A palimpsest of history

The Bible carved in stone

The balance between architecture and light

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Transformations over the centuries

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

The area of the Sanctuary

The senses tell Context 1

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The king’s mark

The chapel of St. Benedict

The Cathedral over the centuries

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

A remarkable ceiling

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

Palermo: the happiest city

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

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The stone bible

Under the crosses of the Bema

A Northern population

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

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

Worship services

The cemetery of kings

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

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The mosaics of the presbytery

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

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

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The Gualtiero Cathedral

Mosaic decoration

Squaring the circle

The southern portico

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The decorated facade

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

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

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

The Virgin Hodegetria

The lost chapel

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

A tree full of life

Survey of the royal tombs

Interior decorations

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

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

The Chapel of the Kings

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The cultural substrate through time

The longest aisle

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

The rediscovered chapel

A new Cathedral

Roger II’s strategic design

The Great Restoration

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

A space between the visible and the invisible

Ecclesia munita

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

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The mosaics of the apses

The beginning of the construction site

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

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

The side aisles

The original design

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

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