The Palatine Chapel

Saint Peter’s Chapel in the Royal Palace

The Palatine Chapel is located on the first floor of the Royal Palace, where the Sicilian Regional Assembly (ARS) is currently based, as if inside a casket, also in relation to its function of political representation.The building stands on previous buildings on the ground floor, such as the palace’s first chapel, dedicated to Santa Maria delle Grazie , which today serves as a crypt. Over the centuries, the Royal Chapel has undergone changes that have altered its appearance. It originally stood at the centre of the palace, with the dome and bell tower clearly visible above the walls from the palace floor.

From the 16th century onwards, the chapel was incorporated into the buildings commissioned by the Spanish viceroys, built to extend the building.  During this same period, the Maqueda courtyard was created to the south of the chapel and to the north the so-called ‘courtyard of the fountain’ which, with the various rooms created, obscured the external view of its architectural structures.Similarly, the Islamic style architectural components, such as the recessed ring mouldings that decorated the outer walls, were partly concealed. The numerous restorations that have been carried out over time, including inside the building, have preserved the splendour and richness of the decorations, from the navate opus sectile flooring and walls, to the Byzantine mosaics in the naves and on the apses ,as well as the splendid painted wooden ceiling, made of muqarnas .The chapel, dedicated to the first bishop of Rome, St. Peter , whose devotion developed rapidly during the Norman era, was built in 1130, the year of the birth of the Kingdom of Sicily, at the behest of the first king, Roger II. Its construction continued over time. On 28 April 1140, it was consecrated as the chapel of the royal family, although not yet defined. In fact, in 1143, there was a mosaic inscription in Greek at the base of the drum of the dome, with a dedication to Roger.


Shapes and colours of the wooden ceiling

The Palace of Kings

The Genoard Park, the garden of pleasures and wonders

The architectural space

The senses tell the flooring

The return of water

The senses tell the architecture

The senses tell the mosaic cycle

The senses tell the external architecture and the original layout

The senses tell the architecture and decorations

The Royal Throne

The Cassaro

The senses tell the Zisa over the centuries

A building constructed in a short space of time

From oblivion to the recovery of memory

The architectural envelope: the Greek cross layout oriented towards the light

The decorations on the bell tower

The birth of the Norman kingdom


Intertwining of knowledge in Norman Palermo

The senses tell the interior

The senses tell the ceiling

The senses tell baroque decoration

From earthquake to collapse

The rediscovered palace

Gold and light: the splendour of the mosaics in the Royal Chapel

The senses tell the historical context

The opus sectile floor of the Palatine Chapel

The beautiful Zisa and its garden: solacium regi among sounds, colours and scents

The senses tell restorations

The mosaic cycle, an ascending path towards the light

The Norman conquest of Sicily and the birth of a new Latin kingdom

The mosaics of the transept and the apses

Saint Peter’s Chapel in the Royal Palace

Different styles and transformations of “one of the most beautiful monuments in the world”

The ancient convent of the Martorana, a history of devotion and tradition

An architectural crescendo

The mosaics of the naves

The loca solatiorum: dwellings for recreation, well-being and hunting

The interior of the church


the Baroque exterior

The senses tell the historical context

the roof of Paradise: one of the most representative works of medieval art

The senses tell the historical context

The Admiral’s dedication

the Baroque interior

The architectural appearance and transformations over time

The flooring: shapes, motifs and iconography