Monument belonging to the multi-serial site "Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedrals of Cefalù and Monreale" included in the World Heritage List (WHL)
Year of enrollment in the WHL: 2015
The cathedral of Santa Maria Nuova was built in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries at the behest of William II of Altavilla, king of Sicily. The Cathedral is famous all over the world for the rich Byzantine mosaics that decorate its interior.
After construction, the cathedral was modified several times. In the sixteenth century, on a project by Giovanni Domenico Gagini and Fazio Gagini, the portico was built along the left side, while that of the main facade was added only later in the eighteenth century. Also in the sixteenth century a large part of the internal floor was built. The ceiling destroyed by a fire was rebuilt between 1816 and 1837.
The façade is closed on the sides by two bell towers, of which the left one remained unfinished in the first order. The entrance is preceded by the eighteenth-century portico, in Baroque style. In the upper part of the facade, ending with a low triangular tympanum, there is an ogival single-lancet window framed by a decoration with blind arches intertwined with each other.
The Latin cross interior has three naves, each ending in a semicircular apse
The ceilings have exposed beams painted in the naves and Arab-type stalactites in the cruise.
The presbytery entirely occupies the area of the cross, in which it is surrounded by neo-Gothic barriers, and the main apse. In the cross, it houses the wooden choir stalls, in neo-Gothic style, in two rows and, under the apse arch, opposite each other, the royal throne and the episcopal chair. The Baroque high altar is the work of Luigi Valadier (1711).
Card insertion: Heritage Sicily
Source and Author Photos: Ignazio Caloggero
Card insertion: Ignazio Caloggero
Information contributions: Web, Region of Sicily
Photo: card cited
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