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 .

The side aisles

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The cemetery of kings

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

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

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

Ecclesia munita

Squaring the circle

The senses tell Context 1

The longest aisle

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The lost chapel

Roger II’s strategic design

A tree full of life

A space between the visible and the invisible

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

Interior decorations

The Cathedral over the centuries

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

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

The decorated facade

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

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

Beyond the harmony of proportions

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

A controversial interpretation

The rediscovered chapel

The towers and the western facade

The beginning of the construction site

Palermo: the happiest city

A palimpsest of history

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The Virgin Hodegetria

Transformations over the centuries

The mosaics of the apses

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

The balance between architecture and light

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The Kings’ Cathedrals

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

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

Survey of the royal tombs

The mosaics of the presbytery

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

Worship services

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

A Northern population

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

The Bible carved in stone

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

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The area of the Sanctuary

The southern portico

The Chapel of the Kings

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The Great Restoration

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

A remarkable ceiling

The original design

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The cultural substrate through time

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

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

Mosaic decoration

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

A new Cathedral

The king’s mark

The stone bible

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

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

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

Under the crosses of the Bema

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

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

The chapel of St. Benedict