Royal or Norman Palace and Palatine Chapel - Palermo
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Royal or Norman Palace and Palatine Chapel - Palermo

palatine chapel

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


Royal Palace

The main entrance is located in Piazza Parliament, the driveway and the tourist one in Piazza Indipendenza, in front of Palazzo d'Orleans, seat of the presidency of the Sicilian Region.

The Royal Palace of Palermo, the imperial seat at the time of Frederick II and Corrado IV, is now known as the Norman Palace and is the seat of the Sicilian Regional Assembly. The Palace was built during the Arab denomination (1132th century) over the remains of previous Punic settlements, the traces of which are still visible in the basement. With the arrival of the Normans, the Palace was enlarged and in 1947 during the reign of Roger II, the Palatine Chapel and other structures were built: the Pisana Tower, home to the Treasure room, and the Torre della Gioaria, which houses the below the room of the Armigeri and on the upper floor the room of King Roger decorated with mosaics and the room of the Winds. The second floor of the building houses the Sala d'Ercole with Giuseppe Velasco frescoes (since XNUMX this room has been the seat of the Sicilian Regional Assembly), the Yellow Room and the Viceroy Room.

The rooms are connected to the so-called crypt by two side stairs. The crypt is a church of Byzantine origin

Palatine Chapel

The Palatine Chapel is a three-nave basilica dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. It was built at the behest of Roger II and was consecrated on April 28, 1140 as a church of the royal family.

The three naves are separated by granite and marble columns with composite capitals that support a structure of pointed arches. The dome, erected above the three apses of the sanctuary, completes the construction. The dome and bell tower were originally visible from the outside before being incorporated into the Royal Palace following subsequent constructions.

The dome, the transept and the apses are entirely decorated in the upper part with Byzantine mosaics, depicting the blessing Christ Pantocrator, the most impactful image of the chapel, the evangelists and various biblical scenes.

The wooden ceiling of the central nave and the beams of the other naves are decorated with carvings and paintings in the Arab style. In each segment there are wooden stars with representations of animals, dancers and scenes from the life of the Islamic court and of paradise as described in the Koran


In-depth study: Pietro Todaro: The subsoil of Palermo - 1988. Downloadable at the following ACCADEMIA.EDU address:

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