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.

A Northern population

Worship services

The Gualtiero Cathedral

A new Cathedral

A tree full of life

The Great Restoration

Layers of different cultures decorate the external apses

Mosaic decoration

The Cathedral over the centuries

Norman religious architecture with islamic influences in Sicily

Cefalù: settlement evidence through time

The longest aisle

The beginning of the construction site

Gardens and architecture as a backdrop to the city of Palermo

The stone bible

A polysemy of high-level artistic forms and content

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

A cloister of accentuated stylistic variety

A controversial interpretation

The chapel of St. Benedict

The dialogue between the architectures of the monumental complex

The lost chapel

Squaring the circle

The towers and the western facade

The area of the Sanctuary

A mixture of styles pervades the floor decorations

The cultural substrate through time

The construction of Monreale Cathedral: between myth and history

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

Characteristics of religious architecture in the romanesque period

The Bible carved in stone

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

The southern portico

Interior decorations

The Kings’ Cathedrals

The decorated facade

The chapel of san Castrense: an important renaissance work

The side aisles

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

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

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

The mosaics of the presbytery

The transformations of the hall through the centuries

Ecclesia munita

The original design

Palermo: the happiest city

The liturgical spaces of the protesis and the diaconicon

The balance between architecture and light

A chapel by an unknown designer based on repeated symmetries

Artistic elements in Peter’s ship

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

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

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

A remarkable ceiling

The Chapel of the Kings

A space between the visible and the invisible

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

The Great Presbytery: a unique space for the cathedral

From the Mosque to the Cathedral

Two initially similar towers, varied over time

The mosaics of the apses

Beyond the harmony of proportions

The Virgin Hodegetria

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

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

The rediscovered chapel

The towers facing the facade used as bell towers

Survey of the royal tombs

The chorus: beating heart of the cathedral

The medieval city amidst monasticism and feudal aristocracy

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

The senses tell Context 1

The chystro: a place between earth and sky

Roger II’s strategic design

A palimpsest of history

Roger II of hauteville: a sovereign protected by God

Transformations over the centuries

Porphyry sarcophagi: royalty and power

The king’s mark

Under the crosses of the Bema

The cemetery of kings

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