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 Gualtiero Cathedral

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

The cemetery of kings

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

A space between the visible and the invisible

A controversial interpretation

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

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The lost chapel

Interior decorations

The mosaics of the apses

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The senses tell Context 1

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

The southern portico

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The decorated facade

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The king’s mark

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

The chapel of St. Benedict

The stone bible

The towers and the western facade

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The Chapel of the Kings

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

Beyond the harmony of proportions

Palermo: the happiest city

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

The balance between architecture and light

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The Bible carved in stone

The side aisles

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

The area of the Sanctuary

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

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

Survey of the royal tombs

The Cathedral over the centuries

A palimpsest of history

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The beginning of the construction site

A tree full of life

The Kings’ Cathedrals

A Northern population

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

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

Ecclesia munita

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

A new Cathedral

Transformations over the centuries

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

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The rediscovered chapel

The Virgin Hodegetria

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The mosaics of the presbytery

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

A remarkable ceiling

Under the crosses of the Bema

Roger II’s strategic design

Squaring the circle

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

The original design

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

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

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

Mosaic decoration

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The cultural substrate through time

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

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

The longest aisle

The Great Restoration

Worship services

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