Architecture and decorations
the Zisa

The architectural appearance and transformations over time

The fragmentary knowledge of the building could only be recovered thanks to diplomatic and notarial sources. Apart from the restoration of the mosaic above the fountain in 1511, the palace retained its structure until the first thirty years of the 17th century. It was only from 1635 onwards that the Zisa underwent a major transformation, due to its poor state of conservation and the work needed to adapt it to the new and changing living requirements of the Sandoval family , who owned the building. The only room that remained unchanged was the fountain room , on the ground floor of the palace, which was preserved due to the taste for the exotic in style at the time.
sala della fontanaThe rest of the building was remodelled to adapt the space to the new requirements. During this phase, the parti and the architectural design of the façade was transformed. New rooms were opened in relation to the internal layout, the original attic sun deck was closed and a new staircase was constructed, changing the existing vertical route system. The building was further altered in the 19th century by the Notarbartolo family , the new owners of the palace.

The Royal Throne

The mosaics of the naves

The senses tell baroque decoration

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

Saint Peter’s Chapel in the Royal Palace

The decorations on the bell tower

The Cassaro

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

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

From oblivion to the recovery of memory

The Admiral’s dedication


The return of water

A building constructed in a short space of time

The senses tell the architecture and decorations

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

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

The senses tell the ceiling

From earthquake to collapse

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

the Baroque exterior

The senses tell restorations

The senses tell the architecture

The Genoard Park, the garden of pleasures and wonders

The opus sectile floor of the Palatine Chapel

An architectural crescendo

The birth of the Norman kingdom

The senses tell the interior

The mosaic cycle, an ascending path towards the light

The senses tell the historical context

The senses tell the flooring

the Baroque interior

The interior of the church

The senses tell the mosaic cycle

The flooring: shapes, motifs and iconography

The senses tell the historical context

The mosaics of the transept and the apses

The rediscovered palace

The architectural appearance and transformations over time

Shapes and colours of the wooden ceiling

The architectural space

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

The senses tell the Zisa over the centuries

The senses tell the historical context


The senses tell the external architecture and the original layout

The Palace of Kings

Intertwining of knowledge in Norman Palermo

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