Itinerary A

[5] The mosaic cycle of the aisles

The mosaics in the central aisle, with scenes from the Old and New Testaments, as well as the interplay of columns running through the interior of the cathedral, seem to accompany the faithful on a salvific journey through the presbytery, culminating in the Christocentric King of Kings, Christ Pantocrator, at the centre of the apse dome. The presbytery is divided into the left wing, known as the Campata di San Luigi, the choir and the right wing, known as the Campata dei Guglielmi. The latter is located in the southern section of the transept and houses the royal tombs. The remains of the temple’s founder are kept in a white marble sarcophagus, commissioned by Archbishop Ludovico I Torres in 1575. It is supported by brackets with a zoomorphic base, finely decorated with friezes carved with foliage and classical winged putti. On one of its larger sides, it bears a long laudatory epitaph, composed by Antonio Veneziano, a poet from Monreale, and engraved on a cartouche plaque. A red porphyry tomb houses the body of William I. The tomb, damaged by fire in 1811, was stripped of the six porphyry columns, three on each side, which supported a marble canopy.