Monreale Cathedral
the internal areas

The senses tell the internal areas

Spicy scent of incense

Entering the sacred building from the main west-facing portal, which William II of Hauteville dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is an invitation to participate in the most impenetrable expression of the infinite, through a pathway steeped in art that calls at the same time for profound veneration. The spicy scent of incense spreads from the sacred area of the Sanctuary, reaching the hall in a crescendo.

The profile of the columns

Built in the shape of a Latin cross, the basilica develops longitudinally, starting from the three aisles that divide the central body with nine rows of columns. Closing your eyes, following the outline of the columns, rhythmically arranged on each side of the central aisle, and touching the cold marble, is a way to mystically connect with the antiquity. The eighteen columns support capitals, irregularly distributed according to the size of the shaft, which in turn are topped by pulvinos that establish the beginning of the mosaic ornamentation of the walls, in an increasingly intense decorative rhythm.

The wonder of the mosaic cycle

Sparkling and precious, the entire mosaic mantle of the interior was created by Byzantine craftsmen and local artists over a rather long period of time, between about 1177 and 1183. It follows a precise theological-dogmatic logic, starting from the mosaics of the main aisle, in which scenes from the Creation to the Jacob cycle from the Old Testament stand out, to the episodes of the Life of Christ, visible in the side aisles and described in the New Testament. In this initial path, in which visitors are filled with an arcane and inexpressible feeling, one’s attention naturally focuses on the grandiose image of Christ Pantocrator in the apse, in eloquent harmony with the architecture as a whole.

The Bible carved in stone

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

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

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

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The senses tell Context 1

Squaring the circle

The lost chapel

The longest aisle

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

Survey of the royal tombs

Worship services

A space between the visible and the invisible

The Cathedral over the centuries

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

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

The area of the Sanctuary

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

A remarkable ceiling

Ecclesia munita

The towers and the western facade

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

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

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

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

The mosaics of the apses

The cultural substrate through time

Under the crosses of the Bema

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The rediscovered chapel

The decorated facade

The stone bible

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The beginning of the construction site

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

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

The side aisles

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

A controversial interpretation

The Chapel of the Kings

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

The original design

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

The balance between architecture and light

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The chapel of St. Benedict

A Northern population

Transformations over the centuries

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

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

Palermo: the happiest city

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The Kings’ Cathedrals

Interior decorations

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The king’s mark

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Roger II’s strategic design

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

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The cemetery of kings

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

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

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

Mosaic decoration

A palimpsest of history

The Great Restoration

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The mosaics of the presbytery

The southern portico

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

A tree full of life

A new Cathedral

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The Virgin Hodegetria