Cefalù Cathedral
the two towers

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

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.
The infiltration of rainwater, starting in the first two decades of the 13th century, inside the massive architectural structures had already compromised the whitewashed or plastered walls of the lower area, characterised by its shapeless stonework.
They were punctuated by dynastic and regal paintings, divided into five scenes, celebrating the sovereigns of Sicily who became part of the historical events of the Cefalu church. 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.
Because of its location outside the Cathedral, the painting was aimed those who could not enter and/or did not have any means to counter the sovereign’s interference designed to deny their rights. Traces of a probable sketch, referring to these paintings and difficult to read, seem to have emerged on some of the southern tower’s ashlars.

The cemetery of kings

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

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The king’s mark

A controversial interpretation

The longest aisle

Transformations over the centuries

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The mosaics of the apses

Mosaic decoration

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

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

The mosaics of the presbytery

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The senses tell Context 1

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

Interior decorations

The original design

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

A tree full of life

The rediscovered chapel

The area of the Sanctuary

The Cathedral over the centuries

Survey of the royal tombs

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Beyond the harmony of proportions

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The Bible carved in stone

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

A new Cathedral

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Under the crosses of the Bema

Worship services

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

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

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

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

Roger II’s strategic design

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

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

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Ecclesia munita

The balance between architecture and light

The Gualtiero Cathedral

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

A Northern population

The southern portico

The chapel of St. Benedict

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

A palimpsest of history

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The Chapel of the Kings

Palermo: the happiest city

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The side aisles

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The decorated facade

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

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

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

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

The towers and the western facade

A space between the visible and the invisible

The Great Restoration

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

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

A remarkable ceiling

The stone bible

Squaring the circle

The cultural substrate through time

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

The beginning of the construction site

The Virgin Hodegetria

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The lost chapel

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