Cefalù Cathedral
the two towers

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

Taking a look, from below, 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. Only apparently symmetrical, they close off the western façade of the centuries-old building, reminiscent of Carolingian westwerk , or western building.
The natural slope of the ground on which the towers stand meant that an additional room had to be added to the north tower, which has an octagonal plan.Further differences, made over the centuries, can be seen in the upper part of the mighty structures, starting with the swallow-tailed merlons of the Ghibelline party standing out on the north tower to represent the crown and temporal power. Opposite this, the south tower, distinguished by its square plan, also surrounds the common element of the pyramidal spire with flamed merlons, representing the papal mitre and the spiritual power of the Church.
The architectural part of the towers is marked by a series of openings of increasing size, starting from the bottom, an area in which the presence of two levels of louvres, or slits, for each tower, characterises the defensive purpose of the Ecclesia Munita .
In the middle area, the north tower’s wall facing, divided into five storeys connected by stone stairs, is lightened on four sides by large single-lancet windows , which have been altered over time, and two further rows of double-lancet windows .Unlike its twin tower, the one that closes the southern wall of the façade does not currently have any overlapping rooms from the same height up to the lantern, apart from the two lower rooms that are poorly lit by the louvres . Recent surveys have, however, identified traces of the existence of three more levels that have been lost. The two towers, originally, or at least up to a certain height, must have had the same structure. In an ancient source from Cefalù, the Rollus Rubens , the term campanario, meaning bell tower, was mentioned for the first time.

Palermo: the happiest city

Worship services

The decorated facade

The Gualtiero Cathedral

The Great Restoration

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

Interior decorations

The rediscovered chapel

The chapel of St. Benedict

Under the crosses of the Bema

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The area of the Sanctuary

Ecclesia munita

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

The cultural substrate through time

The cemetery of kings

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

A Northern population

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The beginning of the construction site

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

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

The mosaics of the apses

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

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

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

Roger II’s strategic design

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

The Virgin Hodegetria

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

Transformations over the centuries

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

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

The stone bible

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The king’s mark

The original design

The lost chapel

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

The senses tell Context 1

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

Survey of the royal tombs

The Cathedral over the centuries

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

A tree full of life

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

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

Squaring the circle

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

A remarkable ceiling

A new Cathedral

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

The Bible carved in stone

The mosaics of the presbytery

Mosaic decoration

The southern portico

The longest aisle

The Chapel of the Kings

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

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

A space between the visible and the invisible

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The side aisles

Beyond the harmony of proportions

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

The balance between architecture and light

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

The towers and the western facade

A palimpsest of history

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

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

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

A controversial interpretation

Two initially similar towers, varied over time