the church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio
the interior

The flooring: shapes, motifs and iconography

The Martorana flooring consists of eleven opus sectile panels, decorated with  quincunxes and geometric motifs. Coeval with the building of the church, dating back to the 1140s, the entire floor is made of white, porphyry , serpentine and antique yellow marble and is characterised by a strong adherence to the naturalism, typical of the Byzantine area, adopted from Cosmatesque and then Sicilian techniques. In fact, similar motifs can be found in the Palatine Chapel , whose decoration is dated to the same time as the Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, as well as in the flooring of two buildings in Constantinople: San Giovanni in Studio and the Church of the Pantocrator.

CENTRAL FLOORING PANEL
The Martorana flooring consists of eleven opus sectile panels , decorated with quincunxes and geometric motifs. Coeval with the building of the church, dating back to the 1140s, the entire floor is made of white, porphyry, serpentine and antique yellow marble and is characterised by a strong adherence to the naturalism, typical of the Byzantine area, adopted from Cosmatesque and then Sicilian techniques. The central panel of the Martorana flooring, in opus sectile just like the other ten, is located under the dome depicting Christ Pantocrator. It has a quincunx motif with a frame of eight wheels laced with bands of sectilia and tessellatum . The central tondo, in red porphyry, is surrounded by four porphyry and serpentine discs. In the mosaic fields, eight vases are depicted, two on each side in porphyry and serpentine inlay. From four of the vases, white lily-shaped flowers emerge, while in the others, besides the original presence of an acrobat, pairs of lions and peacocks are depicted.

Analysing the panels, the central one, located under the dome with the Pantocrator, has a quincunx motif with an eight-wheel frame, linked by sectilia and tessellatum bands.
The central tondo, in red porphyry, is surrounded by four porphyry and serpentine discs. In the mosaic fields, eight vases are depicted, two on each side in porphyry and serpentine inlay. From four of the vases, white lily-shaped flowers emerge, while in the others, besides the original presence of an acrobat, pairs of lions and peacocks are depicted.
The two side panels, similar in geometry and mirrored, are characterised by a lozenge decoration.The frame of the left arm has a decoration of dogs’ heads, while the frame of the right arm has flowers with round petals. The central panel at the entrance, on the other hand, is of Islamic origin, with bands and other geometric figures branching off from an octagon. In the corners, there are two square panels: one with an eight-pointed star and the other, symmetrical, with a central tondo, surrounded by eight discs. In the Bema , there are five panels, three decorated with quincunxes and two with geometric motifs, specifically rhombuses and rectangles.

The Cassaro

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

From oblivion to the recovery of memory

The senses tell the architecture

The Palace of Kings

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

The senses tell the external architecture and the original layout

the Baroque interior

The architectural space

The architectural appearance and transformations over time

The return of water

Shapes and colours of the wooden ceiling

The opus sectile floor of the Palatine Chapel

The birth of the Norman kingdom

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

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

Intertwining of knowledge in Norman Palermo

The decorations on the bell tower

Restorations

The mosaic cycle, an ascending path towards the light

The senses tell restorations

the Baroque exterior

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

The mosaics of the naves

Saint Peter’s Chapel in the Royal Palace

The senses tell the architecture and decorations

The senses tell the ceiling

The senses tell the mosaic cycle

Decorations

The senses tell baroque decoration

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

From earthquake to collapse

The mosaics of the transept and the apses

A building constructed in a short space of time

The senses tell the flooring

The senses tell the Zisa over the centuries

The senses tell the interior

The interior of the church

The senses tell the historical context

The Genoard Park, the garden of pleasures and wonders

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

The Admiral’s dedication

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

The rediscovered palace

The senses tell the historical context

The Royal Throne

The senses tell the historical context

An architectural crescendo

The flooring: shapes, motifs and iconography