Cefalù Cathedral
context 2

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

Even before his coronation, Roger II went to the Abbey of St Mary and the Twelve Apostles in Bagnara to place the Diocese of Cefalù under the control of the Augustinian canons , the order favoured by the king and the most powerful of the non-Benedictine Latin monastic orders.
The communities of the latter, present on the island, were established in the form of colonies or were directly dependent on the four great abbeys erected by the Hauteville family: Lipari – Patti, Catania, San Giovanni degli Eremiti and Monreale. However, Latin monasteries were rather scarce on the southern and western Sicilian coasts, especially in the early period, in which the Basilian abbeys of S.Giorgio, Triocala, S.Michele di Mazara and S.Maria di Mazara had an indisputable predominance. In these places, the Muslim presence was, for a long time, active and was not influenced by Latinising agents.
Unlike what happened in Europe, where the sovereigns’ abbeys did not overpower those of the feudal lords, the opposite occurred in Sicily, although the monasteries’ loyalty established an indispensable link to which the rulers aspired. The king, as hereditary papal legate, had direct control over the appointment of abbots and bishops, as well as the religious institutions present on the island, in order to give greater impetus to the spread of the Western Christian Church.

The Cathedral over the centuries

Ecclesia munita

The cultural substrate through time

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The chapel of St. Benedict

The Chapel of the Kings

The senses tell Context 1

The longest aisle

The lost chapel

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

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

The rediscovered chapel

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The Virgin Hodegetria

The beginning of the construction site

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

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

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

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

The king’s mark

Worship services

The Great Restoration

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The balance between architecture and light

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The original design

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

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

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The towers and the western facade

The southern portico

A palimpsest of history

The mosaics of the presbytery

Squaring the circle

Under the crosses of the Bema

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

A controversial interpretation

The Bible carved in stone

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

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

The stone bible

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

Palermo: the happiest city

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

The mosaics of the apses

Transformations over the centuries

Interior decorations

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

The decorated facade

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The Gualtiero Cathedral

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

Survey of the royal tombs

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

Roger II’s strategic design

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

Mosaic decoration

Beyond the harmony of proportions

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

A new Cathedral

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The area of the Sanctuary

A Northern population

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

The Kings’ Cathedrals

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

The cemetery of kings

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

A tree full of life

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

A remarkable ceiling

A space between the visible and the invisible

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The side aisles