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

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The rediscovered chapel

The original design

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The side aisles

The Kings’ Cathedrals

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The Bible carved in stone

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

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Palermo: the happiest city

A palimpsest of history

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

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

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

The king’s mark

A tree full of life

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

A remarkable ceiling

The mosaics of the apses

Beyond the harmony of proportions

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

The decorated facade

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

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

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

A Northern population

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

Mosaic decoration

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

Survey of the royal tombs

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

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

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

A space between the visible and the invisible

The lost chapel

Worship services

The Cathedral over the centuries

The area of the Sanctuary

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

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

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The mosaics of the presbytery

Transformations over the centuries

The Virgin Hodegetria

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Ecclesia munita

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

Squaring the circle

The cultural substrate through time

Under the crosses of the Bema

The beginning of the construction site

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The balance between architecture and light

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

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

The cemetery of kings

The southern portico

The stone bible

The Chapel of the Kings

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

A controversial interpretation

The senses tell Context 1

Roger II’s strategic design

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

The towers and the western facade

The Great Restoration

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

Interior decorations

A new Cathedral

The longest aisle

The chapel of St. Benedict

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

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

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex