Palermo Cathedral
The central body: the aisles

The senses tell The central body: the aisles

Te Deum Laudamus

In the Chapel of Santa Rosalia, praises are sung to the Virgin Santuzza. It echoes the “Te Deum Laudamus”. This same hymn was sung in 1625, when the Sacred Bones passed through the streets of the city, miraculously putting an end to the terrible plague epidemic that had devasted Palermo for years, causing pain, suffering and death.

Flowers and wheat

The scent of fresh flowers fills the elegant Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. Arrangements with wild flowers and wheat adorn and surround the precious lapis lazuli altar, designed by Cosimo Fonsaga in 1653, where the Blessed Sacrament is kept.

A remarkable ceiling

The wooden ceiling covering the central hall and the side aisles was remarkable. The oak wood of the roof was lacquered and decorated in the resplendent colours of silver, white, yellow and black. In the concave, blue-coloured border, there were inscriptions in Greek characters which made the cover even more elegant. In the central aisle, the roof framework is reminiscent of St Peter’s ship leading the faithful to salvation. Those who entered the Cathedral, looking upwards, could also admire another peculiarity: the Dromico roof, a sort of wooden walkway that allowed for the viewing, control and maintenance of the entire aisle.

A precious sundial

In 1794, a sundial was created by Giuseppe Piazza at the end of the central aisle at the behest of Archbishop Filippo Lopez y Royo. The Palermo University professor and astronomer had precious materials used in its construction: it consists of a prismatic brass bar, slightly raised, set into the floor and finished with a white marble edging. Holes in the bar indicate when the sun enters the various signs of the Zodiac. These are represented on the floor with polychrome marble inlays. Another element of the Cathedral’s sundial is the gnomon, made by drilling a hole in a limestone and covering it with a metal plate. It is located in the dome in front of the Chapel of San Francesco di Paola.

The original design

The balance between architecture and light

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

A Northern population

A tree full of life

The Great Restoration

A new Cathedral

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

Under the crosses of the Bema

The Gualtiero Cathedral

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

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

Interior decorations

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

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

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

The beginning of the construction site

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The Virgin Hodegetria

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

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

Ecclesia munita

The lost chapel

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

Transformations over the centuries

Roger II’s strategic design

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

Survey of the royal tombs

Mosaic decoration

A controversial interpretation

The longest aisle

The king’s mark

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The Bible carved in stone

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

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

The mosaics of the apses

The stone bible

The cultural substrate through time

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Beyond the harmony of proportions

A space between the visible and the invisible

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

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

A remarkable ceiling

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

The rediscovered chapel

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The mosaics of the presbytery

Worship services

The Cathedral over the centuries

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

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

Squaring the circle

The chapel of St. Benedict

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The area of the Sanctuary

Palermo: the happiest city

The cemetery of kings

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

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The senses tell Context 1

A palimpsest of history

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

The towers and the western facade

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

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

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The southern portico

The Chapel of the Kings

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

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

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The decorated facade

The side aisles