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.

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

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

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

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

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

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The Virgin Hodegetria

Survey of the royal tombs

A remarkable ceiling

Interior decorations

The towers and the western facade

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

The chapel of St. Benedict

The rediscovered chapel

Roger II’s strategic design

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

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

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The beginning of the construction site

The Bible carved in stone

The cultural substrate through time

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

The stone bible

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The area of the Sanctuary

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The Cathedral over the centuries

The senses tell Context 1

A new Cathedral

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

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

Transformations over the centuries

Mosaic decoration

The longest aisle

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

The Gualtiero Cathedral

A space between the visible and the invisible

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

A controversial interpretation

The balance between architecture and light

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The side aisles

Worship services

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

The lost chapel

The mosaics of the presbytery

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

The cemetery of kings

A palimpsest of history

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

The Great Restoration

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The decorated facade

The mosaics of the apses

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Palermo: the happiest city

A Northern population

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

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

Under the crosses of the Bema

The king’s mark

A tree full of life

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Squaring the circle

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

Ecclesia munita

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The original design

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

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

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

The Chapel of the Kings

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The southern portico

Beyond the harmony of proportions