Cefalù Cathedral
the church hall

The senses tell the church hall

smell
The scent of incense spreads through the space

Entering the interior of the Temple of Roger, starting from the Porta Regum on an upward path towards the apsidal basin, we are enveloped by the spicy scent of incense that wafts through the basilica-like space of the Cathedral. The atmosphere, too, is charged with symbolic elements that invite us to embark on an exodus-like journey from darkness to light.

touch
The decorations of the aisles

the walls of the aisles, still unfinished pending a mosaic decoration which was never carried out, were designed and embellished, according to 18th-century style, with the insertion of a number of chapels with wall decorations consisting of friezes, pilasters, frames and stucco sculptures of classical inspiration. As a result, the aisles were covered by a barrel vault with lunettes, concealing the original roof.

sight
Columns, sculptures, precious marbles: the decorations of the hall

Walking on the floor of the hall, made of limestone basalt and consisting of stone elements from different quarries, including the lumachella extracted from the Rocca di Cefalù, we can see, in the aisles, some funerary and sculptural movements that embellished the Church in the centuries following its construction. Among these, we can admire Gagini’s sweet Madonna and Child. The central aisle is defined, on each side, by a row of eight columns surmounted by pointed arches on which the masonry marking the upper space rises. The columns made of different marbles, such as granite and cipolin, come from the spoliation of earlier factories from the classical period. Looking up, observing the pitched roof of the Cefalù Cathedral takes us back in time to when it was built as an unprecedented work of art, in perfect dialogue with the structure of the central aisle walls. The solution adopted by the medieval carpenters, with their trusses, features an original pictorial decoration in bright colours which, through a close temporal connection, matches the stained glass windows made in the early 1990s by Palermo artist Michele Canzoneri, which capture our gaze by projecting us back in time, in the narration of biblical themes.

hearing
The sweet melody of the organs

In the Basilica of Cefalù, there are two pipe organs that are currently being restored. The organs were placed in the choir lofts, resting on four small columns, in the first inter-column on the south and north sides of the central aisle. The first organ can be credited to Raffaele and dates back to 1612, while the other, the work of his son, is dated 1614. Anthony’s choir, in cornu evangeli, has a five-bay elevation and ten registers on a sixteen-foot base.

Worship services

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The Great Restoration

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The Kings’ Cathedrals

A tree full of life

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

Survey of the royal tombs

Roger II’s strategic design

The lost chapel

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

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The area of the Sanctuary

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

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

The Chapel of the Kings

The side aisles

The cemetery of kings

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The mosaics of the apses

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

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

Mosaic decoration

The Virgin Hodegetria

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

A space between the visible and the invisible

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

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

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

The original design

The Cathedral over the centuries

The mosaics of the presbytery

Interior decorations

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

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

A remarkable ceiling

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The Bible carved in stone

Squaring the circle

Transformations over the centuries

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The balance between architecture and light

The beginning of the construction site

A controversial interpretation

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The decorated facade

The towers and the western facade

The longest aisle

The chapel of St. Benedict

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

A Northern population

A palimpsest of history

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

The stone bible

The cultural substrate through time

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

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

A new Cathedral

The king’s mark

The southern portico

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

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The senses tell Context 1

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

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

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

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

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

Palermo: the happiest city

Under the crosses of the Bema

The rediscovered chapel

Ecclesia munita