Monreale Cathedral
the Context 1

The senses tell Context 1

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.

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.

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 cultural substrate through time

The Cathedral over the centuries

The mosaics of the apses

The stone bible

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

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

The balance between architecture and light

Worship services

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

A Northern population

The side aisles

Survey of the royal tombs

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

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

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

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The Great Restoration

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

A remarkable ceiling

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The Gualtiero Cathedral

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The area of the Sanctuary

The rediscovered chapel

The decorated facade

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Under the crosses of the Bema

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

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

The cemetery of kings

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

The beginning of the construction site

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

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The Virgin Hodegetria

A controversial interpretation

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The senses tell Context 1

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Mosaic decoration

A palimpsest of history

The Chapel of the Kings

The original design

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

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

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

The mosaics of the presbytery

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

Roger II’s strategic design

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

Interior decorations

Transformations over the centuries

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The towers and the western facade

A tree full of life

A new Cathedral

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The Bible carved in stone

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

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

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

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

The longest aisle

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The king’s mark

The southern portico

A space between the visible and the invisible

Ecclesia munita

Palermo: the happiest city

Squaring the circle

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

The lost chapel

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The chapel of St. Benedict