Apses and transept
Cefalù Cathedral

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The medieval church had the apse area as its only liturgical space. In smaller religious buildings, the apse had two small lateral service rooms for the safekeeping of sacred books and preparing the liturgy. In larger churches and cathedrals, these areas were enlarged, as in the case of the Cefalù Cathedral, through the construction of two apses mirroring the central one. Thus, in liturgical practice, the apse of the Prothesis and that of the Diaconicon took shape.
The first contained the liturgical objects intended for the offertory and the Eucharist, while the second was furnished with cabinets containing the vestments of the officiants and the sacred books. In the following centuries, the two minor apses lost their original function, becoming side chapels with altars and votive decorations.
The Prothesis apse retained its original function to a certain extent, being transformed into the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament , the place where the Eucharist and the sacred objects intended for the rite were kept. This change, with the overlapping Baroque decorations, also affected Cefalù Cathedral, which still has traces of it in the Cefalù chapel.
The Diaconicon apse, on the other hand, underwent profound changes in the early 20th century.
The finishes added in the 18th century were destroyed, with the unfulfilled hope of uncovering original mosaic ornamentation that was never actually made.
The masonry, devoid of any decoration, and the careless removal of part of the plaster, revealed the presence of a room built at the same time as the building, which must have connected the Diaconicon apse with the presbyteral space , used as a royal matroneum .

A Northern population

Roger II’s strategic design

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

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Palermo: the happiest city

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

The original design

The cultural substrate through time

Under the crosses of the Bema

A palimpsest of history

The longest aisle

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

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

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

Squaring the circle

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

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

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The area of the Sanctuary

The Chapel of the Kings

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The Bible carved in stone

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

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

A new Cathedral

Mosaic decoration

The beginning of the construction site

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

A space between the visible and the invisible

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

A tree full of life

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The mosaics of the presbytery

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

Interior decorations

A controversial interpretation

The side aisles

The balance between architecture and light

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

Ecclesia munita

The Gualtiero Cathedral

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

The Cathedral over the centuries

Beyond the harmony of proportions

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

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

Transformations over the centuries

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

The chapel of St. Benedict

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The towers and the western facade

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The senses tell Context 1

A remarkable ceiling

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

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

The mosaics of the apses

The lost chapel

The decorated facade

Worship services

The cemetery of kings

Survey of the royal tombs

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The Virgin Hodegetria

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The stone bible

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

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

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

The southern portico

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

The rediscovered chapel

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

The Great Restoration

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The king’s mark