Monreale Cathedral
the internal areas

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

From the right-hand side aisle of the cathedral, passing through a portal which may date back to William II’s era, located symmetrically on the opposite side of the side entrance, we enter the chapel of San Castrense , located in the north wing of the cloister.Even from the representations appearing in relief on the walnut shutters, decorated with foliage, we can see the image of the chapel’s namesake Holy Bishop on the left, at the front, wearing a mitre, holding a crosier and giving a blessing.This is followed, on the right, by the frontal figure of Archbishop Ludovico II de Torres , who commissioned this space and who, stripped of his iconographic attributes and bareheaded, holds only a cross-shaped staff to emphasise his mission as Pastor. The founder’s noble lineage is commemorated in the coats of arms below, where five skilfully inlaid towers stand out.
The geometric profile of the squares, lightened by iron grilles adorning the central area, are interrupted by the sinuous design of the bronze ring-shaped handles, each decorated with putti holding the Torrese coat of arms, supported by a cherub.
Work on the construction and decoration of this first important Renaissance work inside the cathedral lasted from 1588 to 1609. This project was carried out to contain the relics of the patron saint of the city and the archdiocese, which had arrived in Monreale on 29 December 1596 at the behest of Alfano, Bishop of Capua, as a wedding gift for the sovereign.
As well as fulfilling the desire already expressed by Ludovico I de Torres, the construction of the chapel was also intended to fulfil a personal wish of his successor. He wanted to make it his own burial place, a wish that remained unfulfilled, as his remains remained in Rome in the Church of San Pancrazio, where he was appointed patron, when he died in 1609.

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

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Squaring the circle

A tree full of life

A new Cathedral

Interior decorations

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The Great Restoration

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

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

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

Ecclesia munita

The lost chapel

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The mosaics of the presbytery

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The cultural substrate through time

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

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

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

A palimpsest of history

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

Under the crosses of the Bema

A controversial interpretation

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The towers and the western facade

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

Roger II’s strategic design

Transformations over the centuries

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

The chapel of St. Benedict

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

The mosaics of the apses

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The Cathedral over the centuries

The cemetery of kings

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The original design

The stone bible

A remarkable ceiling

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

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

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The side aisles

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Palermo: the happiest city

The rediscovered chapel

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

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The king’s mark

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

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

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

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

The Virgin Hodegetria

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

A space between the visible and the invisible

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

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

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

The Chapel of the Kings

Survey of the royal tombs

The southern portico

A Northern population

Mosaic decoration

The area of the Sanctuary

Beyond the harmony of proportions

Worship services

The Kings’ Cathedrals

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The senses tell Context 1

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The decorated facade

The Bible carved in stone

The longest aisle

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The beginning of the construction site

The balance between architecture and light