The Canonical Cloister ( XII Century) is located along the northern side of the Cathedral.
The Cloister with a rectangular plan was built at a lower altitude of 3.40 m compared to the floor of the church.
It is the oldest cloister in Sicily of its type. Particularly valuable is the cycle of magnificent capitals finely decorated with stories of the Old and New Testament, close to elegant ogival arches, supported by an orderly sequence of twin columns decorated in different ways, now smooth now fluted, to represent the four elements: air, water, fire and earth.
For its valuable architecture, the Cloister of the Cathedral of Cefalù is one of the most important examples within the scene of medieval european art, a testimony to the splendor of the Norman era in Sicily.
From the original configuration of the Cloister it is possible to admire today only a section along the western side and the southern side; the eastern side was lost during a fire in 1809, while the northern colonnade is mostly still existing, but waiting to be restored and reconfigured in its original aspect.
In medieval theological symbolism, the Cloister represents Paradise on earth, through the enigmatic figure of the garden adorned with trees and fruit.
Looking at the garden it is possible to notice that it is divided into four parts, in reference to the Holy Scripture and in perfect agreement with the historiated capitals, the gardens represent the four books of the Bible: Genesis with the fig tree, the Song of Songs with the pomegranate tree, the Gospel with the olive tree and the Apocalypse with the date palm.
The Cloister is definitely a place of extreme beauty that invites to silence, accompanying the visitor/observer to get lost in the accuracy of the details, in an ecstatic vision able to induce a deep meditation.