the church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio
the interior

The interior of the church

George of Antioch, who also commissioned the great bridge, known as the  Admiral's Bridge , originally built over the  Oreto river in Palermo, had the church built in honour of the Virgin, reflecting his multifaceted Greek Orthodox faith and Arab-Greek culture.In fact, the church has a unified Byzantine style, but also elements of Islamic derivation, such as the original wooden door, now in the southern entrance, with Fatimid school carved panels, and the porphyry columns in the corners of the presbytery .The interior, in the form of a Greek cross set within a square, typically Byzantine, had even more oriental characteristics before it was remodelled between 1600 and 1700 to adapt it to the Latin rite, changing its original shape.The interior of the church is structured in nine bays, distinguished by four columns that form a square space in the centre and support the dome. The   Greek-cross and triapsidal layout has horizontal arms with barrel vaulted roofing , while the bays in the corners are perfectly square and have a cross-shaped roof. All of the vaults arches are of slight ogival shape .The interior focal point of the building is the Bema , room located on the east side, which includes the three apses . One of these, the central one, was replaced at the end of the 1600s, based on a design by the architect Paolo Amato , by a large chapel, frescoed and decorated with marble and adorned with a lapis lazuli altar. The entire sacred space, elevated by 26 centimetres, was separated from the rest of the church by the iconostasis , an enclosure, typical of Greek worship, made of marble slabs and aligned with the columns. Signs of the iconostasis are still partially visible today in the shafts and bases of the columns.The interior lighting, which creates a rich interplay of light with the mosaic decoration, is provided by the dome’s eight windows and the ogival-arched windows in the side bays and the apses, which are wider in the arms of the cross than in the four corners.

The Royal Throne

The Palace of Kings

The senses tell the historical context

the Baroque exterior

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

The senses tell the flooring

the Baroque interior

The mosaic cycle, an ascending path towards the light

The Admiral’s dedication

The architectural appearance and transformations over time

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

Intertwining of knowledge in Norman Palermo

The senses tell the architecture

An architectural crescendo

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

The rediscovered palace

The mosaics of the transept and the apses

The decorations on the bell tower

The Genoard Park, the garden of pleasures and wonders

The return of water

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

The senses tell the historical context

From earthquake to collapse

The Cassaro

The senses tell restorations

A building constructed in a short space of time

The senses tell the architecture and decorations

The senses tell baroque decoration

Shapes and colours of the wooden ceiling

The senses tell the ceiling

The senses tell the mosaic cycle

The mosaics of the naves

The senses tell the external architecture and the original layout

The opus sectile floor of the Palatine Chapel

The birth of the Norman kingdom

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


The architectural space

The senses tell the historical context

From oblivion to the recovery of memory

The flooring: shapes, motifs and iconography

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

The senses tell the interior

The interior of the church

The senses tell the Zisa over the centuries

Saint Peter’s Chapel in the Royal Palace

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


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