Monreale Cathedral
the Great Presbytery

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

In the Cathedral of Monreale, there is a particular spatial composition of the presbyteral area , consisting of a double volume, in some cases also called double transept .
It is this typology, unique in Sicily for Norman churches, which also distinguished the Palermo Cathedral , in its original layout, now appreciable only from the view of the external volumes.
The space of the sacred area of the Sanctuary is divided into two large rooms, distinct from the church hall because of its higher position, connected to it by some steps.
The whole area is generically called the Great Chancel , and is effectively divided into three distinct parts: the larger central part, closer to the hall, is more properly called the Presbytery .This is delimited by two narrow transverse spaces: the Anti-Presbytery Floor , towards the hall, and the Post-Presbytery Floor , connecting the side apses with the Tribuna maggiore of the central apse . These spaces in Palermo Cathedral are identified with the ancient name of Titulus , corresponding to the presbytery of Monreale and Antititulus  with the space of the Post Presbytery. In Palermo Cathedral, the Titulus was the area designated for the Cathedral’s Canons Titular , who took their place in the choir . The bishop’s chair and the royal seat were located in this space. The cemetery area with the sarcophagi of the kings and bishops were located on either side of the Titulus. Similarly, and still visible today, in Monreale, the choir is located in the space of the presbytery and the adjoining side parts are dedicated to containing the royal sarcophagi.

A tree full of life

A remarkable ceiling

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Transformations over the centuries

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

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

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

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

Under the crosses of the Bema

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

The Virgin Hodegetria

The chapel of St. Benedict

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The Kings’ Cathedrals

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The southern portico

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Squaring the circle

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

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Palermo: the happiest city

The Bible carved in stone

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

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

Interior decorations

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

A palimpsest of history

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The longest aisle

Ecclesia munita

A new Cathedral

Roger II’s strategic design

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

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

The lost chapel

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The mosaics of the presbytery

The cultural substrate through time

The Gualtiero Cathedral

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

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

The Chapel of the Kings

The Great Restoration

Worship services

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

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

A controversial interpretation

The balance between architecture and light

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The senses tell Context 1

The original design

The king’s mark

A space between the visible and the invisible

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

Mosaic decoration

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

The mosaics of the apses

A Northern population

The Cathedral over the centuries

The rediscovered chapel

The beginning of the construction site

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The towers and the western facade

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

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

The stone bible

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The cemetery of kings

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The side aisles

The decorated facade

Survey of the royal tombs

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

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

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

The area of the Sanctuary