Apses and transept
Cefalù Cathedral

Under the crosses of the Bema

In this context, the central chapel in the Cefalù Cathedral has a unique elongated shape which enhances its elevated volume, enclosed by two ribbed cross vaults , which virtually delimit the space of Bema .
At the front of the building, there are two symmetrically placed compartments in the side walls to connect the Prothesis and the Diaconicon , dedicated to liturgical services.
The interior decoration is conspicuously divided, at the two cross vaults, with mosaics covering the entire eastern part, including the basin and the apsidal dome . The western area, extending up to the elevation of the arch facing the transept is adorned with stuccoes and statues, commissioned by Marco Antonio Gussio in the mid-17th century.
The Baroque style was creatively used on this occasion to embellish this remaining part of the Bema, which was originally intended to house the medieval mosaics that completed the original iconographic programme.
Inside the Sanctuary, according to the Canonical Rite, the royal seat and the bishop’s chair were placed against each other on the walls, while in the centre, under the second cross of the Bema, decorated with mosaic images of Seraphim and Cherubim was the ancient altar , embellished with a gold altarpiece and surmounted by a precious ciborium .
Today, the Cathedral houses a new altar , made of bronze, cast in wax and finished in pure gold.

The new altar in the Cefalù Cathedral is the work of artist Virginio Caminaghi. Made of cast and gilded bronze, its base is decorated with a band depicting the procession of the twenty-four Vigils, who in St John’s Apocalypse praise God, assist him and offer prayers. This procession converges toward the centre of the altar where the lion, calf, eagle and man surround and worship the Immolated Lamb. The rear centre depicts the throne, symbolising the coming of Christ, with two adoring angels on either side. In the mensa, within a frame, there is a slab of white marble that was used from medieval times onwards in the six altars that have followed one another over the centuries inside the Cathedral. The inscription “EMMANUEL GLORY OF MYSTERIES” can also be seen.

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

Transformations over the centuries

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

Interior decorations

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

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

A new Cathedral

The Bible carved in stone

Survey of the royal tombs

The Kings’ Cathedrals

A controversial interpretation

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

The Virgin Hodegetria

Roger II’s strategic design

The balance between architecture and light

The stone bible

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

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The lost chapel

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

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

A space between the visible and the invisible

The towers and the western facade

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

The longest aisle

The senses tell Context 1

Mosaic decoration

The Chapel of the Kings

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

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

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The decorated facade

The Great Restoration

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

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

The mosaics of the presbytery

The cemetery of kings

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The original design

The cultural substrate through time

Worship services

A tree full of life

A palimpsest of history

The Gualtiero Cathedral

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Palermo: the happiest city

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

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

Squaring the circle

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

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

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

Ecclesia munita

The beginning of the construction site

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

A remarkable ceiling

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

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

The area of the Sanctuary

The rediscovered chapel

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

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

The side aisles

Beyond the harmony of proportions

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

The Cathedral over the centuries

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

A Northern population

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

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

The chapel of St. Benedict

The mosaics of the apses

Under the crosses of the Bema

The king’s mark

The southern portico