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 towers facing the facade used as bell towers

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The side aisles

Worship services

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

Transformations over the centuries

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

A remarkable ceiling

The Gualtiero Cathedral

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

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

The chapel of St. Benedict

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

A palimpsest of history

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

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The area of the Sanctuary

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The mosaics of the apses

The cultural substrate through time

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

A controversial interpretation

The Virgin Hodegetria

The Great Restoration

The Cathedral over the centuries

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

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

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

Interior decorations

The decorated facade

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

Survey of the royal tombs

Roger II’s strategic design

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

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

A Northern population

The balance between architecture and light

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

Palermo: the happiest city

A tree full of life

The mosaics of the presbytery

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

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

The Bible carved in stone

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

The southern portico

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

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

Squaring the circle

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

The Chapel of the Kings

A new Cathedral

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The original design

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The longest aisle

The senses tell Context 1

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

Ecclesia munita

The king’s mark

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The towers and the western facade

Mosaic decoration

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

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

A space between the visible and the invisible

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The beginning of the construction site

Under the crosses of the Bema

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

The lost chapel

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The cemetery of kings

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

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The stone bible

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The rediscovered chapel