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.

A tree full of life

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Transformations over the centuries

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

Interior decorations

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

A palimpsest of history

The Great Restoration

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

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The king’s mark

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The original design

The Cathedral over the centuries

The senses tell Context 1

The lost chapel

The Gualtiero Cathedral

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

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

A Northern population

The beginning of the construction site

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

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

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

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Roger II’s strategic design

Worship services

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

Mosaic decoration

The side aisles

Survey of the royal tombs

A controversial interpretation

The chapel of St. Benedict

A remarkable ceiling

The stone bible

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Beyond the harmony of proportions

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

The balance between architecture and light

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The longest aisle

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

Palermo: the happiest city

The cultural substrate through time

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

The mosaics of the presbytery

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

Squaring the circle

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

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

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

Ecclesia munita

The area of the Sanctuary

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Under the crosses of the Bema

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The decorated facade

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

The towers and the western facade

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The southern portico

The mosaics of the apses

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The Virgin Hodegetria

The Chapel of the Kings

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

A space between the visible and the invisible

The cemetery of kings

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

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The Bible carved in stone

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

A new Cathedral

The rediscovered chapel