Cefalù Cathedral
the facade and the portico

The senses tell the facade and the portico

sight
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.

touch
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.

hearing
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.

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The side aisles

A space between the visible and the invisible

Roger II’s strategic design

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 longest aisle

The Great Restoration

The cultural substrate through time

Beyond the harmony of proportions

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The southern portico

A new Cathedral

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The cemetery of kings

The Chapel of the Kings

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

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The balance between architecture and light

Under the crosses of the Bema

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The mosaics of the apses

Squaring the circle

The area of the Sanctuary

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The mosaics of the presbytery

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

Interior decorations

A palimpsest of history

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

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

The original design

Survey of the royal tombs

The Cathedral over the centuries

Mosaic decoration

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

A remarkable ceiling

The rediscovered chapel

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

A tree full of life

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

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

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The towers and the western facade

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

A controversial interpretation

The decorated facade

The stone bible

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

Ecclesia munita

The senses tell Context 1

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

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The chapel of St. Benedict

A Northern population

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

Palermo: the happiest city

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The king’s mark

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The lost chapel

Worship services

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

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

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The beginning of the construction site

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

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

The Bible carved in stone

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The Virgin Hodegetria

Transformations over the centuries

The Kings’ Cathedrals

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