Cefalù Cathedral
the facade and the portico

The senses tell the facade and the portico

A fortress church

The main façade, rising to the west, is enclosed between two imposing square towers with a pyramid-shaped apex. They are a reminder of its original function as Ecclesia Munita, a fortress church, with a series of multi-level walkways, now uncovered, built within the thickness of the walls, connecting the two towers to the transept, in defence of the Cathedral.

Magister Ambrosius of Como

Hands feel the coldness of the stone as they graze the front elevation of the Cathedral. Restored at the end of the 15th century, it houses the protruding body of the tetra-style portico, made by the magister Ambrosius da Como. It is subdivided into three large arches, two lateral pointed arches and a central full-centre one, supported by four columns. The dynamism of the ribbed cross vaults permeating the roof of the portico is reminiscent of the decorations on the ancient gate. Dating back to the second half of the 12th century, the gate is still a fine example of architecture today, although time has compromised the sculptural work by master stone carvers from the Romanesque period.

The Path to Salvation Begins

After gathering in the square and sadly walking down the steps, the faithful pass through the royal gate, or Porta Regum, and enter the timeless and pathos-filled atmosphere of the Cefalù Cathedral. The chatter outside contrasts with the absolute and spiritual silence that reigns inside the building, before the religious services begin. People gather in emotional personal prayer as they turn, with joined hands, to the grandiose Christ Pantocrator.

Ecclesia munita

The mosaics of the presbytery

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

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

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The Chapel of the Kings

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The chapel of St. Benedict

The cemetery of kings

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The Virgin Hodegetria

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The king’s mark

A palimpsest of history

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

The decorated facade

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

Worship services

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

The Great Restoration

Under the crosses of the Bema

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

Transformations over the centuries

The side aisles

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The balance between architecture and light

The Cathedral over the centuries

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

The Kings’ Cathedrals

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

Survey of the royal tombs

A remarkable ceiling

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

A new Cathedral

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

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The longest aisle

A controversial interpretation

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

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

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

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The cultural substrate through time

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

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

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The area of the Sanctuary

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

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The rediscovered chapel

A space between the visible and the invisible

A Northern population

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

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The southern portico

Palermo: the happiest city

The Bible carved in stone

The towers and the western facade

Mosaic decoration

The stone bible

The senses tell Context 1

The mosaics of the apses

The Gualtiero Cathedral

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

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

A tree full of life

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

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

Squaring the circle

Interior decorations

The lost chapel

The original design

Roger II’s strategic design