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 chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The beginning of the construction site

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The king’s mark

The Chapel of the Kings

The Gualtiero Cathedral

Ecclesia munita

The cemetery of kings

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The Bible carved in stone

Interior decorations

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The mosaics of the presbytery

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

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

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

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

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

The southern portico

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

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

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The longest aisle

The rediscovered chapel

Squaring the circle

Palermo: the happiest city

The stone bible

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The lost chapel

A remarkable ceiling

The area of the Sanctuary

Under the crosses of the Bema

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

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

The Virgin Hodegetria

The balance between architecture and light

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The towers and the western facade

Transformations over the centuries

A Northern population

Survey of the royal tombs

The Kings’ Cathedrals

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The senses tell Context 1

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

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

A new Cathedral

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

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The Cathedral over the centuries

A controversial interpretation

A tree full of life

The chapel of St. Benedict

The decorated facade

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

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

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

The side aisles

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

The cultural substrate through time

Roger II’s strategic design

The mosaics of the apses

The original design

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

Mosaic decoration

The Great Restoration

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

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

A palimpsest of history

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

Worship services

A space between the visible and the invisible

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

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

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history