Apses and transept
Cefalù Cathedral

The beginning of the construction site

News of the construction of the Cefalù Cathedral must have reached all the lands of the Norman kingdom rather quickly.
As was the case for the construction of all great cathedrals, stone masters, builders, master masons and axe masters came from all over and, together with their families, flooded the small fishing village of Cefalù. The building, like any respectable medieval work, started from the east, with the first work being the construction of the most sacred area of the church. Initiating the construction of the Cefalù Cathedral was certainly not an easy task; one of the few large churches and perhaps the only cathedral to be built with staggered levels in its foundations . The area on which the grandiose temple was to be built was identified as a steep cliff that sloped down towards the sea from the slopes of the great Rocca above the town.
The first activity that the master builders carried out was the construction of the laying surface and the underlying foundations, built in steps with substructure walls .
Once the floor level had been obtained, the building’s wall perimeter plan was able to be drawn up and construction could begin.
The construction site opened with an organic and unified plan, which involved the creation of the main apse, the two service apses , the Diaconicon on the right and of the Prothesis on the left, together with the large transverse body of the transept.
The construction technique used for the foundations is evident in the plinths of the apses.
These are built in steps on different levels. The architectural composition of the high walls was strongly influenced by the Nordic style; in fact, Burgundian and more classic Romanesque stylistic features are visible.

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The Chapel of the Kings

Palermo: the happiest city

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

Squaring the circle

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

The towers and the western facade

The original design

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The southern portico

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

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Transformations over the centuries

The Virgin Hodegetria

Survey of the royal tombs

The Great Restoration

The side aisles

The Cathedral over the centuries

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Mosaic decoration

A space between the visible and the invisible

The Kings’ Cathedrals

A Northern population

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

Roger II’s strategic design

The chapel of St. Benedict

Ecclesia munita

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

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The king’s mark

Interior decorations

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

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

A new Cathedral

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

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

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

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

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The cemetery of kings

The longest aisle

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

Worship services

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

The mosaics of the apses

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

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The stone bible

The Bible carved in stone

The beginning of the construction site

Under the crosses of the Bema

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The cultural substrate through time

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

A tree full of life

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The area of the Sanctuary

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The decorated facade

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

A palimpsest of history

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

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

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The senses tell Context 1

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

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

The lost chapel

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The rediscovered chapel

The balance between architecture and light

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The mosaics of the presbytery

A remarkable ceiling

A controversial interpretation

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time