Cefalù Cathedral
the chystro

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

There are fantastic, fairytale places in the world, between earth and sky, spiritual places and places evoked by legends and myths that speak of distant lands and that populate our childhood memories.
Examples include the ones narrated by Marco Polo, on his return from his journey to the faraway Katai, or the territories visited by the first Spanish Conquistadors, in the immense Mayan empire, to the mystical spaces of the Orthodox monasteries of Mount Athos, or the crusader castles of Syria and Jordan.
They are almost immaterial places, imbued with deep impressions, evocative of a deep-rooted spirituality and guardians of a historical memory that has become layered over time. Crossing them with a peaceful soul, we can still hear the echo of those ancient presences that inhabited them. Upon entering the large medieval cathedral, we are immersed in a distant, mystical and evanescent world, composed of large walls, stained glass windows that radiate a sacred and timeless light, encouraging reflection and religious silence, as it did for those who built it, frequented it and dedicated their entire lives to it. Inside the cloister, the entire universe of human knowledge seems to be concentrated, glorified by the mystery of salvation, whose presence has been embraced by the sculptures and architecture for centuries. The cloister of Cefalù’s Basilica of the Transfiguration stands on a crag between the fortress and the sea, in an enigmatic place in terms of location and composition, in an enchanting landscape, next to the suggestive Tempio ruggeriano.

The side aisles

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Mosaic decoration

A space between the visible and the invisible

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The balance between architecture and light

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

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The chapel of St. Benedict

A tree full of life

The Bible carved in stone

The senses tell Context 1

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Under the crosses of the Bema

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The mosaics of the apses

The lost chapel

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

Beyond the harmony of proportions

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

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

A remarkable ceiling

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

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

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The king’s mark

The beginning of the construction site

Squaring the circle

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

The Cathedral over the centuries

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

Palermo: the happiest city

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

The cemetery of kings

The area of the Sanctuary

Interior decorations

A controversial interpretation

A Northern population

A new Cathedral

The Virgin Hodegetria

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The longest aisle

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The original design

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

The Chapel of the Kings

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

Roger II’s strategic design

The decorated facade

Ecclesia munita

Survey of the royal tombs

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

Worship services

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The towers and the western facade

The mosaics of the presbytery

The southern portico

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The stone bible

The Kings’ Cathedrals

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

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

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

A palimpsest of history

The rediscovered chapel

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

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

The Great Restoration

Transformations over the centuries

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

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

The cultural substrate through time