Palermo Cathedral
The great Presbytery and the apses

The senses tell the great Presbytery and the apses

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.

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.

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.

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.

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Survey of the royal tombs

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

Worship services

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

The king’s mark

The Kings’ Cathedrals

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

The Chapel of the Kings

The southern portico

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

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

A space between the visible and the invisible

The longest aisle

A remarkable ceiling

The Bible carved in stone

Roger II’s strategic design

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

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

The mosaics of the apses

The area of the Sanctuary

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

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

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

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The chapel of St. Benedict

The cultural substrate through time

The balance between architecture and light

The side aisles

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The Great Restoration

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The stone bible

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The lost chapel

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

A controversial interpretation

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Transformations over the centuries

A palimpsest of history

The towers and the western facade

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The Cathedral over the centuries

Ecclesia munita

The cemetery of kings

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

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

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The beginning of the construction site

The original design

The rediscovered chapel

Palermo: the happiest city

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Under the crosses of the Bema

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

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

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

The mosaics of the presbytery

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

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The Gualtiero Cathedral

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

A Northern population

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The Virgin Hodegetria

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

A new Cathedral

A tree full of life

Squaring the circle

Interior decorations

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The senses tell Context 1

Mosaic decoration

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The decorated facade