"Re-sanctified beauty" Cathedral Tip by mikey_e

Cathedral, Palermo: 28 reviews and 72 photos

  Il Cattedrale di Palermo
by mikey_e

The Cattedrale di Palermo is another church that was constructed in the general effort to wipe out any trace of Muslim influence in Catholic countries. It was begun in 1185 on the site of an earlier basilica that the Saracens had converted into a Mosque. The church has undergone repeated "restorations", the last of which was done in 1781, which were actually thinly veiled attempts to change the very essence of the building. The right hand side of the Cathedral, which is the entrance, is in Catalan Gothic form and dates from about 1465. The earliest part of the Cathedral is actually the apse, which dates from the 1100s. The south-west side dates from the 14th and 15th centuries, which the copula is a work of the Florentine Fuga, who undertook the 18th century "renovations". Inside, the Cathedral is in a Latin cross form with three naves. The towers date from Norman times (there are four of them) and are near the copula (although, clearly, unrelated to it).

In all, this Cathedral is too complex to describe clearly in a such a small space, largely because it is not a cohesive, single effort but represents the changing political fortunes of the island and the various influences on its culture and art. More than anything, however, visiting the Cathedral is the only means of properly appreciating just how large and spectacular it is, particularly if you go early and are one of the few people there.

Address: Via Bonello
Directions: In the city centre, towards the Palazzo Normanno

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Sep 5, 2007
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