Cefalù Cathedral
the facade and the portico

The decorated facade

The main façade, rising to the west, is enclosed between two imposing square towers with a pyramid-shaped apex. They are a reminder of its original function as Ecclesia Munita , a fortress church, with a series of multi-level walkways, now uncovered, built within the thickness of the walls, connecting the two towers to the transept, in defence of the Cathedral.The front elevation of the religious building, restored at the end of the 15th century, is home to the protruding body of the tetrastyle portico , built by magister Ambrosius da Como . It was divided into three large arches, with two lateral ones with pointed arches and a central full centre one , supported by four columns. The dynamism of the ribbed cross vaults which fill the roof of the portico echoes the decorations of the ancient gateway , preserved over the centuries.
In addition to the monumental marble portal that ennobles the façade, whose creation dates back to the initial cathedral project, there are two further orders. The first order is marked by an elaborate row of four blind pointed arches on each side, which intersect each other, interrupted only at the centre by a large window bearing an inscription dated 1240, referring to Giovanni Panittera , a testimony to his work on the elevation of the Cathedral.
The last level differs from the one below due to the presence of decorative elements of simpler workmanship.

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

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

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

The cultural substrate through time

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

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The balance between architecture and light

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The southern portico

Worship services

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

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

A palimpsest of history

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

Under the crosses of the Bema

A tree full of life

The Virgin Hodegetria

The rediscovered chapel

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The decorated facade

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

A Northern population

Squaring the circle

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

A space between the visible and the invisible

Survey of the royal tombs

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

A new Cathedral

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The towers and the western facade

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The chapel of St. Benedict

The stone bible

Palermo: the happiest city

The Chapel of the Kings

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

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

Mosaic decoration

Interior decorations

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

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

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

The original design

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The longest aisle

The Kings’ Cathedrals

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

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Roger II’s strategic design

Ecclesia munita

The Cathedral over the centuries

The Bible carved in stone

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

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The cemetery of kings

The lost chapel

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

A controversial interpretation

The beginning of the construction site

The king’s mark

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The mosaics of the presbytery

The senses tell Context 1

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

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The area of the Sanctuary

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The side aisles

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

A remarkable ceiling

The mosaics of the apses

The Great Restoration

Transformations over the centuries

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

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex