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The Cathedral from the outside

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Let’s choose to approach the sacred space of the Cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria Nuova by respecting its natural orientation. The layout, which is in the shape of a Latin cross, and the east facing direction of the central apse give an obvious priority to the main square, which is porticoed and located on the western side.

The bronze door by Bonanno is used for the passage of the King into the Temple of God; he proceeds before his people, assisted by the resident monastic community. In line with this solemn entrance, the aesthetic and religious perceptions of those who participated in the sacred Liturgy developed, experienced with Mary, the Mother of God, in the light of Christ “pantocrator”.
The King could avail of special privileges: he had direct access to the Presbytery from the adjoining royal palace. In turn, the officers of his “royal court” would enter half way up the central aisle, through the Barisano door.
Proceeding towards the exterior triapsidal zone, visitors can admire the marvellous intersection of artistic solutions which are typical of the Norman and Arab worlds.
Finally we reach the area inhabited and managed by the monks from Cava de’ Tirreni. Led by the pastoral and paternal action of the Abbot-Archbishop, they entered the House of God, passing through the Cloister.