Palermo Cathedral
St. Mary Magdalene

The senses tell St. Mary Magdalene

The treasure of the Cathedral

The shrines that hold the Cathedral’s treasure shine. Visiting the rooms is like travelling back in time and reliving a never forgotten past. The crown, three gold rings with precious stones and a plaque found in the tomb of Frederick II’s first wife, Constance of Aragon, can still be admired today. There are also: an ivory shrine; two polygonal medallions; a silver and gilded bronze shrine; a silver chalice; a gilded bronze and pierced silver shrine from the Gothic period; the Carondolet antependium in silk, velvet and gold; the Peace of St. Luke; the chalice of Charles III of Spain; an embossed and chiselled silver shrine containing the wood of the Holy Cross; the Barbavara chalice and the Soledad chalice.

Gold and precious stones

The crown of Constance of Aragon, dating back to approximately 1222, was made by the Tiraz of the Royal Palace. The crown, a symbol of luxury and royalty, has side pendants; the cloth cap is embellished with a fine vermicular gold filigree, raw gems collected in baskets and strings of beads elegantly surrounding the enamels. The materials are those worthy of a queen: gold, silver, silk, enamel, pearls, precious stones.

Transformations over the centuries

The senses tell Context 1

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

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

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The original design

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

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

The Gualtiero Cathedral

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

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The chapel of St. Benedict

The decorated facade

A controversial interpretation

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

The rediscovered chapel

The Kings’ Cathedrals

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

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The mosaics of the presbytery

The side aisles

Roger II’s strategic design

A remarkable ceiling

Under the crosses of the Bema

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Survey of the royal tombs

The Great Restoration

Ecclesia munita

The Bible carved in stone

The Cathedral over the centuries

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

The Chapel of the Kings

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

The Virgin Hodegetria

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

The towers and the western facade

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

A tree full of life

The cultural substrate through time

The beginning of the construction site

A space between the visible and the invisible

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The longest aisle

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

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

The area of the Sanctuary

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

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The cemetery of kings

The lost chapel

A new Cathedral

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Mosaic decoration

The stone bible

A palimpsest of history

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

Palermo: the happiest city

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

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

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

Beyond the harmony of proportions

Worship services

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

Squaring the circle

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

A Northern population

The mosaics of the apses

The balance between architecture and light

The southern portico

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

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

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The king’s mark

Interior decorations