Monreale Cathedral
the Context 1

The senses tell Context 1

sight
The vegetation of the Palermo plain

As Ugo Falcando carefully describes, the flourishing vegetation of the landscape of the Palermo plain in the 12th century showed colours ranging from the pink hues of the lumia flowers to the bright tones of the oranges and pomegranates, similar to the fiery streaks of timeless sunsets.

smell
Scent of spices and colours

New fruit trees such as cedars, lemons and oranges were introduced to the endless green expanses of the flourishing Palermo plain as part of a diverse cultivation system. In addition to the pleasant view enhanced by a rich palette of colours, there was no shortage of the spicy scents of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and jasmine, which permeated the air with a mixture of Middle Eastern aromas.

hearing
Parks, gardens and water features

In the parks and gardens, you can hear the water gushing. The knowledge with which the Arab culture was imbued, starting with the development of science and mathematics, also involved the reorganisation of the layout of Palermo. The city became an area where studies on water channelling systems, including the underground water channels known as quanāt, gave impetus to the construction of parks and suburban gardens enriched by the presence of surface pipelines, saie, fountains and water collection tanks.

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

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The rediscovered chapel

The mosaics of the apses

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The stone bible

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

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

The lost chapel

A Northern population

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

The area of the Sanctuary

The decorated facade

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

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The Virgin Hodegetria

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The cemetery of kings

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

A new Cathedral

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

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The longest aisle

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

Survey of the royal tombs

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

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

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

Roger II’s strategic design

Squaring the circle

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

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

The Great Restoration

The original design

The towers and the western facade

The balance between architecture and light

Transformations over the centuries

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

The Chapel of the Kings

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

A palimpsest of history

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

A remarkable ceiling

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

Mosaic decoration

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

Under the crosses of the Bema

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The Gualtiero Cathedral

A controversial interpretation

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The southern portico

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

The beginning of the construction site

The chapel of St. Benedict

The side aisles

The mosaics of the presbytery

Ecclesia munita

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

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

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

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

Palermo: the happiest city

The cultural substrate through time

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The king’s mark

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The Bible carved in stone

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

A space between the visible and the invisible

A tree full of life

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The Cathedral over the centuries

The Kings’ Cathedrals

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

Interior decorations

The senses tell Context 1

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

Worship services