Cefalù Cathedral
the two towers

The senses tell the two towers

The vertical momentum of the towers

At first glance, the western façade of the Cathedral has a compositional structure that is independent from the rest of the building, as if it were a fortress and a transversal link to the two towers surrounding it.
The massive vertical momentum of the towers and the fact that they belong to the Norman period, however, still conceals an Islamic military reference to the presence of tall square parallelepipeds crowned by smaller structures. Taking a closer look at the imposing and compact profile of the cathedral towers, which dominate the landscape of the city, the original defensive function of the area entrusted to them becomes evident.

The tolling of the bells calls the faithful to mass

The tolling of the bells calls the faithful to morning mass. A small group of people begin to gather in the churchyard in front of the Cathedral. They are fishermen who, having spent the night at sea, are preparing to receive the Eucharist and thank God for the goods he has granted them.

Lost frescoes

The life of the Cathedral is also narrated through frescoes preserved within the walls of functional places, such as the towers, which are not always used to exalt beauty. Getting closer and touching the precious frescoes with your hand, you notice that the weather has compromised the legibility of the painting. Originally, there were five dynastic and regal scenes celebrating the rulers of Sicily. The first scene depicts Roger II holding the Holy Trinity with one hand. The Saviour, the religious building and, with the other hand, the cartouche relating to the privileges with which he had endowed it.
The figure of William I occupied the second panel in memory of the confirmation of privileges, to which the donation of the Syracuse Church of St Lucia was also added. King William II, whose actions validated the privileges bestowed on the Church by his ancestors, stood out in the third panel. A further confirmation of the ancient privileges occupied the upper panel with the figure of Constance, who also offered the village of Odosuer as a gift to the Cathedral. The fifth scene reverses the compositional theme of the preceding scenes, as it contains a political claim represented by the presence of Frederick II of Swabia, who drives Bishop Giovanni away from the Temple of Cefalù.

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

Roger II’s strategic design

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The original design

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The decorated facade

The mosaics of the apses

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

The stone bible

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

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

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

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

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

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

The cemetery of kings

Under the crosses of the Bema

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

A remarkable ceiling

A controversial interpretation

Worship services

The Chapel of the Kings

Mosaic decoration

The king’s mark

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

A tree full of life

The senses tell Context 1

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

A new Cathedral

Interior decorations

Squaring the circle

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

A Northern population

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The mosaics of the presbytery

The balance between architecture and light

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

The Gualtiero Cathedral

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

A space between the visible and the invisible

The area of the Sanctuary

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

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

The cultural substrate through time

The rediscovered chapel

A palimpsest of history

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The southern portico

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The chapel of St. Benedict

The side aisles

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

The Bible carved in stone

Survey of the royal tombs

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

Palermo: the happiest city

Ecclesia munita

The longest aisle

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The Great Restoration

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

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

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

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

The towers and the western facade

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The Cathedral over the centuries

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

Transformations over the centuries

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

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

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The Virgin Hodegetria

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The lost chapel