Le absidi nelle prime chiese normanne e nella Cappella Palatina di Palermo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Between the last decades of the 11th century and the beginning of the next, after Sicily's return to Christi- anity after the long period of Islamic rule, the island witnessed the almost simultaneous outburst of new constructions of religious buildings. It was a time of experimentation in spatial patterns and new building solutions that blended together the different cultures present on the island, namely the Byzantine, Islamic and Norman civilizations.Due to their function and symbolic value, apses were always the focus of special attention, which in Nor- man churches was evident in the rich decoration of the facing walls, as opposed to the bare interior sur- faces, usually intended to accommodate mosaics or frescoes.Alongside the "canonical" solution of the three curved volumes – corresponding to the ritual spaces of the bema, prothesis and diaconicon – adopted in the apses of the early cathedrals (Troina, Catania and Mazara del Vallo), various other alternatives were ex- perimented.Among the Basilian churches, concentrated mainly in the mountainous areas of northeastern Sicily, the church of Santi Pietro e Paolo in Casalvecchio Siculo stands out for the originality of the apse. It is de- signed as an embattled tower with a rectangular plan built around the inner curve and the conch, forming two pentagonal niches at the base in the adjoining spaces. The Church was built around 1116, the year in which the Abbot Gerasimos received lands and other assets from Roger II, later King of Sicily, but it suffered serious damage as a result of the earthquake of 1169. It is no coincidence that two years later thebuilding was renovated at the expense of the cate- chumen Theosterictus under the direction of the pro- tomagister Girard the Frank, whose name seems to indicate that he came from France.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationL’abside. Costruzione e geometrie
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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  • Cite this

    Antista, G. (2015). Le absidi nelle prime chiese normanne e nella Cappella Palatina di Palermo. In L’abside. Costruzione e geometrie (pp. 62-81). (TRACCIATI. STORIA E COSTRUZIONE NEL MEDITERRANEO).