Palermo Cathedral
The great Presbytery and the apses

The senses tell the great Presbytery and the apses

sight
The marble tribune

In 1509, Antonello Gagini began one of his career’s greatest works: the marble tribune for the central apse of the Cathedral. Even though the majestic creation can no longer be admired following the restorations in the 18th century, in past centuries the faithful who flocked to the cathedral could gaze upon the Sanctuary and contemplate a timeless wonder, the fruit of the ingenuity and mastery of one of the greatest sculptors of the 16th century.

smell
Incense and candles: all ready for the celebration

The spicy scent of incense fills the area of the Sanctuary, where the priest is preparing to begin the Sacred Celebration. The faithful kneel in prayer while a deacon lights candles that create a soft interplay of light.

touch
The durability of the material

The Palermo Cathedral, like that of Cefalù, was designed as an ecclesia munita. For this reason, a system of passages was created, inside the walls and in the upper parts, as patrol walkways, protected by elegant battlements placed at the top of the building. In the area of the Presbytery, these passages were also opened up to the interior of the church, with a colonnaded loggia, built of terracotta bricks, with lily capitals, covered with red and green painted plaster.

hearing
Echoes of the Choir

The Cathedral Choir can be found in the large Presbytery, a row of chiselled wooden stalls, built in the Catalan Gothic style in 1466. The first two stalls, on the right and left, are reserved for the Bishop and the Cathedral’s Ciantro. The Cathedral Chapter, consisting of the canons, sits in the choir and during the Easter Vigil they sing the Exsultet, which echoes throughout the church with majestic solemnity.

Survey of the royal tombs

Under the crosses of the Bema

The Great Restoration

Worship services

The king’s mark

A space between the visible and the invisible

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

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

The southern portico

The Bible carved in stone

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

A remarkable ceiling

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The mosaics of the apses

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The Virgin Hodegetria

The cemetery of kings

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

A controversial interpretation

The original design

Roger II’s strategic design

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

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The balance between architecture and light

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The side aisles

Mosaic decoration

Palermo: the happiest city

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

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The lost chapel

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

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

A new Cathedral

Beyond the harmony of proportions

A tree full of life

The chapel of St. Benedict

The Kings’ Cathedrals

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

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The senses tell Context 1

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The rediscovered chapel

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

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

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

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

The Gualtiero Cathedral

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

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

A Northern population

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The area of the Sanctuary

The beginning of the construction site

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

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

Transformations over the centuries

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The decorated facade

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

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The cultural substrate through time

The Chapel of the Kings

The stone bible

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

A palimpsest of history

The towers and the western facade

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

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Interior decorations

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The mosaics of the presbytery

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

Ecclesia munita

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The Cathedral over the centuries

Squaring the circle

The longest aisle