Palermo Cathedral
The Context 2

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The cathedral remained unchanged in its structure for almost a hundred years after the arrival of the Normans. During the reign of William II , grandson of Roger II , the church was restored and designed as an ecclesia munita from 1170 onwards,at the behest of Archbishop Gualtiero , a Proto family member of the King. The Cathedral was reopened for worship on April 6, 1185, with a lavish ceremony.
It is probable that the decision to renovate the sacred building was made not only to provide the city with a temple worthy of the kingdom’s capital, but also because of the damage caused to the church by the seismic event of 4 February 1169, known as the “ earthquake of Sant'Agata “, which caused extensive ruin throughout most of Sicily. Palermo Cathedral was rebuilt at the same time as the construction of the Monreale Cathedral, commissioned by William II, as part of his plans to govern the territory by creating emblematic places of worship.
For both sacred buildings, records tell the story of the discovery of a treasure, the one found by the Virgin Mary, who came to William in a dream to facilitate the construction of the Monreale Cathedral, and the one found during the construction of the church of the Holy Spirit , for the renovation of the church in Palermo.

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

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

A remarkable ceiling

The balance between architecture and light

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

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The chapel of St. Benedict

Survey of the royal tombs

The king’s mark

The Chapel of the Kings

Squaring the circle

The lost chapel

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

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

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

Ecclesia munita

The original design

The longest aisle

A Northern population

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

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

Roger II’s strategic design

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The cemetery of kings

The southern portico

The beginning of the construction site

The Great Restoration

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

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

Worship services

Mosaic decoration

A space between the visible and the invisible

Under the crosses of the Bema

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The cultural substrate through time

A new Cathedral

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

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

The stone bible

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

Transformations over the centuries

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

Palermo: the happiest city

The side aisles

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The rediscovered chapel

The Bible carved in stone

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

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The senses tell Context 1

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

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

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

The Cathedral over the centuries

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The Gualtiero Cathedral

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

A controversial interpretation

The decorated facade

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

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The mosaics of the presbytery

A tree full of life

The area of the Sanctuary

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The mosaics of the apses

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The towers and the western facade

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

A palimpsest of history

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Interior decorations

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

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

The Virgin Hodegetria

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

The transformations of the hall through the centuries