Palermo Cathedral
The central body: the aisles

The longest aisle

The Palermo Cathedral had the distinction of being the largest church in terms of length, compared to other contemporary churches in Sicily, with reference to the cathedral buildings in Cefalù, Catania and Messina . It is likely that this particular feature is due to the fact that the ‘Norman’ cathedral was built on the pre-existing great Gami Mosque  in Palermo, while the other churches were built ‘ab fundamentis‘. Throughout the 12th century and part of the 13th century, the entrance to the Gualterian cathedral was located on the southern side, probably on the site of a pre-existing access room under the portico, also known as the Loggia or Tocco .The main or “canonical” west façade, left unfinished, began construction in the second half of the 13th century and was followed by the construction of the large marble portal , in around 1350, splayed with recessed lintels in the late Romanesque style.
The hall was composed according to the canonical tripartition, divided by the arches that delimited the main aisle from the side aisles. It’s intended appearance was to appear very elegant and slender. The central part rose above the side walls with high walls on ten pointed archways on each side, supported by twenty-two groups of Egyptian granite columns, described by historians as Theban columns with Tuscolan capitals , using the tetrastyle system . This system was then followed during the Renaissance by Giorgio di Faccio , for the construction of the San Giorgio dei Genovesi  Church in Palermo’s Loggia dei Mercanti district .
The central area was lit by large single-lancet windows, framed in the wall plane with an alternating score of voids and solids followed, on the external façade, by a series of blind single-lancet windows defined by arches with recessed lintels and framed by small marble and porphyry columns.

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

Beyond the harmony of proportions

Palermo: the happiest city

The Cathedral over the centuries

The Gualtiero Cathedral

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

The king’s mark

Worship services

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The rediscovered chapel

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

A remarkable ceiling

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

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The chapel of St. Benedict

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

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

The senses tell Context 1

The Great Restoration

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

Ecclesia munita

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

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

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

A tree full of life

The lost chapel

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

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

The mosaics of the presbytery

Interior decorations

The beginning of the construction site

A palimpsest of history

The Chapel of the Kings

The balance between architecture and light

Under the crosses of the Bema

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The stone bible

The southern portico

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The original design

Survey of the royal tombs

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

A Northern population

A space between the visible and the invisible

The Virgin Hodegetria

The cemetery of kings

The towers and the western facade

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

Squaring the circle

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

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

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

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

A controversial interpretation

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

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

The side aisles

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

Mosaic decoration

The Bible carved in stone

The cultural substrate through time

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The mosaics of the apses

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

A new Cathedral

Roger II’s strategic design

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

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

The longest aisle

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

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

The decorated facade

Transformations over the centuries

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

The area of the Sanctuary