Palermo Cathedral
The central body: the aisles

The Great Restoration

Once the clergy’s appeal was accepted, the royal architect Ferdinando Fuga was commissioned to draw up a major project for the “restoration” of Palermo Cathedral. The project was then implemented in the construction work, carried out from 1781 to 1801 by the architects Carlo Chenchi and Giuseppe Venanzio Marvuglia , varying slightly from the initial design.
The project involved the entire cathedral with massive transformations, both inside and out.
The most striking feature was the insertion of the large arm through the transept .
At the intersection of the transept and the nave, the majestic drum and its dome were inserted, a feature that particularly denoted the external configuration of the church.
Thus, the interior of the hall was profoundly modified, in an engineering operation that was certainly daring for the time. In fact, the entire roof was dismantled and repositioned higher up, in order to raise the walls of the nave by more than two metres. This made it possible to create a large rounded barrel vault , in the prevailing neoclassical style, to cover the nave , in continuity with the new choir chapel, beyond the transept.
All the interior decoration was characterised by plaster and stucco, typical of the late 18th century, with a light colouring in shades of grey-blue and white.
The original pointed arches were modified and round arches were inserted, supported by large pillars, built to replace the previous tetrastyle system with Egyptian granite columns, which were first removed and, following a choral protest, relocated next to the new pillars.

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

Squaring the circle

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

The area of the Sanctuary

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

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The decorated facade

A palimpsest of history

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

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

Palermo: the happiest city

The balance between architecture and light

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

A Northern population

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The side aisles

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The senses tell Context 1

The Chapel of the Kings

Transformations over the centuries

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

A controversial interpretation

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

A remarkable ceiling

The cemetery of kings

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

The Virgin Hodegetria

A tree full of life

Worship services

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

The stone bible

The original design

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The southern portico

The Bible carved in stone

The beginning of the construction site

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

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

The Kings’ Cathedrals

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The chapel of St. Benedict

The cultural substrate through time

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

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

The lost chapel

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

Roger II’s strategic design

Survey of the royal tombs

Interior decorations

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

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

The longest aisle

A space between the visible and the invisible

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

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The mosaics of the apses

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

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

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Under the crosses of the Bema

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The mosaics of the presbytery

Mosaic decoration

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

The rediscovered chapel

Ecclesia munita

A new Cathedral

The Cathedral over the centuries

The king’s mark

The Great Restoration

The towers and the western facade