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.

The Royal Throne

The architectural appearance and transformations over time

The mosaics of the naves


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

The interior of the church

An architectural crescendo

The senses tell the historical context

Intertwining of knowledge in Norman Palermo

The rediscovered palace

The return of water

The Genoard Park, the garden of pleasures and wonders

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

The mosaic cycle, an ascending path towards the light

The senses tell the historical context

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

The Cassaro

The architectural space

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

Saint Peter’s Chapel in the Royal Palace

the Baroque exterior

The senses tell the architecture

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

Shapes and colours of the wooden ceiling

The senses tell the Zisa over the centuries

The senses tell the external architecture and the original layout

The senses tell the flooring

The opus sectile floor of the Palatine Chapel

A building constructed in a short space of time

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

The birth of the Norman kingdom

The decorations on the bell tower

the Baroque interior

The senses tell the ceiling


The mosaics of the transept and the apses

The senses tell the mosaic cycle

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

From earthquake to collapse

The senses tell the architecture and decorations

The Palace of Kings

The senses tell the interior

The senses tell the historical context

The senses tell baroque decoration

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

The senses tell restorations

The Admiral’s dedication

The flooring: shapes, motifs and iconography

From oblivion to the recovery of memory