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THE CATHEDRAL   versione testuale

Just strolling down Corso Vittorio Emanuele you cannot help but be surprised, since before your eyes Palermo Cathedral, a beautiful jewel, appears; a glorious hodge-potch of architectural styles revealing the history of its past.

It was founded in 1184 by Gualtiero (Walter) Offamilio, an English Archbishop of Palermo. The Cathedral, consecrated to Virgin Mary, was a reconstruction of the mosque which, in its turn, was constructed over the original Ortodox cathedral which had served the Christian community before the arrival of the Muslim conquerors.

The entrance portal was created in 1425 for the coronation of Alfonso the Magnanimous, while the porch-shaped hut, “a capanna”, was built in Catalan-Gothic style around 1465. The first column on the left of the porch displays a carved inscription taken from the Koran. The central arch, which is wider and higher offers a rich tortile decoration, the whole of which is recognized as “The Tree of Life”.

                                        The The Church had been restructured several times over the centuries;  the aisles were added and the Baroque dome was added by the architect Ferdinando Fuga. The apse is that part which best preserves the original structure.

Today the Basilica interior is divided into three aisles, along the side naves there are various chapels. In the first two chapels of the southern aisle among the sarcophagi there are: the tomb of Roger II, the great Norman King who founded the Kingdom of Sicily in 1130, the porphyry tomb of Frederick II Hohenstaufen, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, ‘Stupor Mundi’, grandson of Emperor Frederick Redbeard; that of Frederick’s first wife, Constance II of Aragon, whose crown is one of the most valuable pieces of the “ Cathedral Treasury” and the tombs of Constance’s parents: Constance d’Altavilla and Emperor VI. The chapel dedicated to Santa Rosalia, the Patron Saint of Palermo, houses an urn containing the relics of the “Santuzza”( the way Palermitans call santa Rosalia). Set into the marble inlay of the floor, close to the main altar, is a sun meridian, designed by the astronomer G. Piazzi, the Cathedral treasury and the crypt.





Via Vittorio Emanuele  tel. 091.33 43 73 - 329 39 77 513

ChurchMon to Sat h 7.00 am/7.00 pm.  Sun. & Holidays: (Nov/Apr) h 08.00am/1.00pm - 4.00 pm/7.00 pm; Sun. & Holidays (May to Oct )

 h 08:00am/7:00pm .

Area monumentale: treasure, crypt, royal tombs + roofs):

(Apr/Oct.) Mon to Sat h 09.00am/5.30 pm (last entry 4.30pm).

Sun.h 10.00am /5.00pm - Nov./Mar.: Mon to Sat h 09.00am /1.30pm (last entry12.30pm)  (Sun closed)

Visits to the roof see the web site: