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.

Interior decorations

The beginning of the construction site

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

A new Cathedral

The decorated facade

A controversial interpretation

The balance between architecture and light

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The mosaics of the presbytery

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

Worship services

The area of the Sanctuary

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

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

Under the crosses of the Bema

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The longest aisle

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

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

Beyond the harmony of proportions

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

Roger II’s strategic design

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The southern portico

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

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

The mosaics of the apses

A palimpsest of history

The cultural substrate through time

A tree full of life

The king’s mark

A remarkable ceiling

Survey of the royal tombs

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

A space between the visible and the invisible

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

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

The senses tell Context 1

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

A Northern population

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Mosaic decoration

The Cathedral over the centuries

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The original design

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The towers and the western facade

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

Ecclesia munita

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

The Virgin Hodegetria

Squaring the circle

The chapel of St. Benedict

The stone bible

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

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

Transformations over the centuries

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The side aisles

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

Palermo: the happiest city

The cemetery of kings

The rediscovered chapel

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

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

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The Bible carved in stone

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

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

The Chapel of the Kings

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The Great Restoration

The lost chapel

The Kings’ Cathedrals

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