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.

The balance between architecture and light

The southern portico

A controversial interpretation

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The stone bible

The Chapel of the Kings

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

Under the crosses of the Bema

The Gualtiero Cathedral

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

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

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The area of the Sanctuary

Transformations over the centuries

The lost chapel

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The senses tell Context 1

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

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The mosaics of the presbytery

Worship services

The rediscovered chapel

Ecclesia munita

A space between the visible and the invisible

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

Survey of the royal tombs

The king’s mark

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

Squaring the circle

The beginning of the construction site

The towers and the western facade

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

A new Cathedral

Roger II’s strategic design

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

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

The cemetery of kings

The cultural substrate through time

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The original design

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

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

Palermo: the happiest city

A palimpsest of history

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

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

The Bible carved in stone

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

Mosaic decoration

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

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The longest aisle

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

The Virgin Hodegetria

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The chapel of St. Benedict

A Northern population

Beyond the harmony of proportions

Interior decorations

The decorated facade

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The Great Restoration

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The side aisles

The mosaics of the apses

A tree full of life

The Cathedral over the centuries

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

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

A remarkable ceiling

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

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral