the Zisa

The Zisa, coming from the Arabic word for splendid, stood within the magnificent Genoard park. The construction of the palace began with William I and was completed by his successor, William II. The Zisa was the king’s summer residence and is one of the highest expressions of loca solatiorum. The emblematic Fountain Room is the luxurious reception room of the Norman rulers. An Islamic style iwan, it projects outwards, in ideal connection with the surrounding park and in axis with the main entrance in a predominant position compared to the other rooms. The hall’s interior is cruciform in shape with large decorated and vaulted niches and muqarnas. The entire room is decorated with mosaics and marble inlays in opus sectile and columns with capitals of Islamic origin. In the part below the mosaics, water flowed through a marble slab into a gutter at floor level, interspersed with basins and decorations in opus sectile. It then gushed into the grandiose fishpond outside.