the flooring
The Palatine Chapel

The opus sectile floor of the Palatine Chapel

The flooring of the Palatine Chapel is made of opus sectile , composed of tiny marble tiles of different colours and shades; the large  porphyry tondos (omphalos) come from circular sections of ancient columns.
On the floor, an emblem of syncretism from the Norman period, complex lattice patterns coexist, intertwining to form starry polygons, typical elements of 12th-century North African and Egyptian architecture, and opus sectile, from the Byzantine mosaic tradition.Although the technique is oriental, the forms and stylistic elements are Islamic in style, and it is thought that both Campanian Byzantineworkers , who had already worked on the Salerno Cathedral, and Islamic or Mediterranean craftsmen worked together. The floor is characterised by it’s division into squares with geometric motifs in which weaves, ribbons, triangular and circular elements, star-shaped polygons and quincunx or quincunxes recur.The latter, as the word suggests, is an arrangement of five units and is configured with a central sphere and four lateral ones at the vertices. The motif, of Byzantine origin, was used mainly in cosmatesquemosaics .The flooring is also part of Roger II’s ideological and political programme, which is expressed in the decoration of the Chapel, so much so that one of the most commonly used marbles is porphyrywhich, like purple, was a prerogative of the Eastern emperors due to its bright colour, being an ideal symbol of power and royalty. Other tiles, such as those in white, are made of locally sourced limestone marble. The same opus sectile floor decoration is present in the lower order of the walls of the side aisles ,
where the dialogue between western and eastern culture continues. A ribbon with a stylised palmette decoration of Islamic origin, also present in the Monreale Cathedral , joins and forms a caesura between the opus sectile and the Byzantine mosaics of the upper order of the naves.

From oblivion to the recovery of memory

From earthquake to collapse

Intertwining of knowledge in Norman Palermo

The senses tell the architecture

The mosaics of the transept and the apses

The mosaics of the naves

The senses tell baroque decoration

The Palace of Kings

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

Shapes and colours of the wooden ceiling


The Genoard Park, the garden of pleasures and wonders

The flooring: shapes, motifs and iconography

The senses tell the Zisa over the centuries

The return of water

The senses tell the mosaic cycle

The opus sectile floor of the Palatine Chapel

The senses tell the ceiling

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

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

The architectural space


The rediscovered palace

the Baroque exterior

The senses tell restorations

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

The senses tell the external architecture and the original layout

The senses tell the flooring

The birth of the Norman kingdom

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

The Cassaro

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

Saint Peter’s Chapel in the Royal Palace

the Baroque interior

The senses tell the historical context

The architectural appearance and transformations over time

A building constructed in a short space of time

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

The Royal Throne

The senses tell the interior

The senses tell the architecture and decorations

The decorations on the bell tower

The Admiral’s dedication

The senses tell the historical context

An architectural crescendo

The mosaic cycle, an ascending path towards the light

The senses tell the historical context

The interior of the church

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