Cefalù Cathedral
the chystro

The original design

The cloister of Cefalù’s Basilica of the Transfiguration is the central nucleus of that vast collection of buildings that make up the conventual complex, erected next to the Cathedral.Over the centuries, there haven’t been any documents able to give us a precise construction date, so studies are still open.
In order to reconstruct the enigmatic story of the construction of the cloister and understand the dynamics of its current location, at a level of about three metres, considerably lower than the level of the naves of the adjacent church, it is necessary to reflect on the data that emerged from the recent restoration work, which has allowed us to formulate some hypotheses. The Cloister is located next to the wall of the Cathedral’s northern aisle , and therefore in a non-canonical position in relation to the Orthodox layout of the monastic complexes, which places it next to the wall of the church’s southern aisle. It should be remembered that the Cefalù cathedral church was built at the behest of Roger II, as a dedicatory temple and royal mausoleum. However, the grandiose and majestic building project, launched by the sovereign, was only completed after about two hundred years, interrupted by the completion of the apses , the presbytery and the transept .
The cathedral was completed after a long standstill with the creation of the naves and the modification of the original architectural layout. Entrance to the cloister was gained through the regular door in the western wall of the transept, with access to the eastern aisle and the anti-clockwise route along the aisles.
The cloister is delimited, to the south, by the north aisle of the church and surrounded, to the east and west, by the conventual buildings with the canonical spaces of the Abbey: the chapter house, the refectory, the dormitory; while to the north, on the sea front, it is not unlikely that the cloister aisle could have remained in some way open to the horizon, a unique feature found in the cloister of the Benedictine Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey .

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

The stone bible

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The cultural substrate through time

The towers and the western facade

The original design

Under the crosses of the Bema

The chapel of St. Benedict

Worship services

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

A controversial interpretation

The Bible carved in stone

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

A new Cathedral

Ecclesia munita

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

Roger II’s strategic design

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

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

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

Transformations over the centuries

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The side aisles

The Chapel of the Kings

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The lost chapel

The mosaics of the apses

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

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The longest aisle

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

The rediscovered chapel

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

A space between the visible and the invisible

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The area of the Sanctuary

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

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

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

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

The cemetery of kings

A palimpsest of history

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

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

Palermo: the happiest city

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

A remarkable ceiling

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

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

The Gualtiero Cathedral

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

The southern portico

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Interior decorations

The Great Restoration

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

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

The decorated facade

Mosaic decoration

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The balance between architecture and light

A Northern population

The Cathedral over the centuries

The Virgin Hodegetria

The senses tell Context 1

A tree full of life

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

Squaring the circle

The king’s mark

The beginning of the construction site

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Survey of the royal tombs

The mosaics of the presbytery