Cefalù Cathedral
the church hall

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

In the Baroque and Neoclassical periods, many Italian Romanesque churches were affected by stylistic transformations, which were also carried out in important Sicilian religious buildings such as the cathedrals of Palermo and Catania .
These changes also involved the interior of the Cefalù Cathedral, with the insertion of a diversified Baroque decorative arrangement in the various areas of the building.
The walls of the aisles, still unfinished pending a mosaic decoration which was never carried out, were designed and embellished, according to 18th-century style, with the insertion of a number of chapels with wall decorations consisting of friezes, pilasters, frames and stucco sculptures of classical inspiration. As a result, the side aisles were covered with a barrel vault with lunettes , concealing the original roof.
The cultural approach to restoration, which developed in the early 20th century, encouraged a series of interventions to restore the Cathedral to its original appearance. However, nothing was achieved as a result of the work, which was carried out in several stages. On the contrary, it resulted in the loss of the cathedral’s historical fabric, leaving the interior devoid of any artistic or historical dignity.
The recovery of the original formal purity of the interiors was the subject of the last restoration in the 1980s, during which the walls of the aisles were treated with monochromatic plaster, bringing it closer to the intended appearance of this sacred space. According to Roger’s plan, the walls had to accommodate a mosaic decoration with a religious theme.

The beginning of the construction site

The area of the Sanctuary

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

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

The Virgin Hodegetria

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

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

Under the crosses of the Bema

The southern portico

Mosaic decoration

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

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

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The side aisles

The senses tell Context 1

The rediscovered chapel

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The original design

The decorated facade

Squaring the circle

A remarkable ceiling

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

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

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

A tree full of life

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

A new Cathedral

The Bible carved in stone

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

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

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The longest aisle

Palermo: the happiest city

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

Survey of the royal tombs

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The mosaics of the apses

Worship services

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

Interior decorations

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

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

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The towers and the western facade

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

Transformations over the centuries

A Northern population

The Cathedral over the centuries

The Great Restoration

A palimpsest of history

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The king’s mark

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

A controversial interpretation

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The lost chapel

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The stone bible

Roger II’s strategic design

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

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

The cemetery of kings

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

The balance between architecture and light

The Kings’ Cathedrals

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The Chapel of the Kings

A space between the visible and the invisible

Ecclesia munita

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

The chapel of St. Benedict

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

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The mosaics of the presbytery

The cultural substrate through time