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.

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The beginning of the construction site

The longest aisle

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

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

Interior decorations

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

Mosaic decoration

The stone bible

A new Cathedral

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

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

The king’s mark

A remarkable ceiling

The southern portico

The side aisles

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The lost chapel

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

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

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

A space between the visible and the invisible

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The Great Restoration

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

The rediscovered chapel

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

A tree full of life

Squaring the circle

The Kings’ Cathedrals

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The mosaics of the presbytery

Under the crosses of the Bema

The Cathedral over the centuries

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

The mosaics of the apses

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

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The towers and the western facade

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

The original design

Palermo: the happiest city

The Bible carved in stone

Roger II’s strategic design

The area of the Sanctuary

A Northern population

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

The balance between architecture and light

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The decorated facade

The cultural substrate through time

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

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

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

A controversial interpretation

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The Virgin Hodegetria

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The senses tell Context 1

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The Chapel of the Kings

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

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

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

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

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

A palimpsest of history

Ecclesia munita

The chapel of St. Benedict

Survey of the royal tombs

The cemetery of kings

Transformations over the centuries

Worship services

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