the ceiling
The Palatine Chapel

The senses tell the ceiling

Muqarnas decorations

The ceiling, made of painted wood, consists of two rows of central coffers, with concave lobes, flanked by small square or star-shaped coffers; the system is made of alveoli and muqarnas, typical of Islamic architecture. In particular, the central aisle is decorated with muqarnas, which form the geometric structural base, starry polygons and small domes, the latter made of thin boards. In the side aisles, long panels of sloping rafters form a coffered ceiling with alternating flat and concave bands.

A skilful interlocking of wood

The specialised workers excelled in woodworking, as each element of various shapes and sizes is cut, assembled and worked according to a precise order and technique, demonstrating an extensive knowledge of the physical and mechanical characteristics of the materials used. In fact, the interlocking of the elements that form a stable, self-supporting and balanced mechanism is skilful. The wood used in the ceiling ranges from fir, black pine, poplar and beech. It’s like you can still smell the scent of freshly cut fir trees. It could be a Sicilian type: the Abies nebrodensis.

The muqarnas: a miracle of Arab architecture

The ceiling of the Palatine Chapel is characterised by muqarnas, an ornamental decoration typical of Islamic architecture and most commonly found in the vaults of buildings. The interplay of joints and volumes creates an evocative composition, which one would like to be able to caress in order to appreciate its plastic forms.

The senses tell baroque decoration

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

The birth of the Norman kingdom

The senses tell the mosaic cycle

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

Saint Peter’s Chapel in the Royal Palace

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

The senses tell the historical context

The mosaic cycle, an ascending path towards the light

The interior of the church

The opus sectile floor of the Palatine Chapel


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

Shapes and colours of the wooden ceiling

The mosaics of the transept and the apses

The Admiral’s dedication

The senses tell the flooring

The decorations on the bell tower

The senses tell the architecture and decorations

The senses tell the architecture

The senses tell the interior

The Cassaro

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

From oblivion to the recovery of memory

Intertwining of knowledge in Norman Palermo

the Baroque interior

The senses tell restorations

The senses tell the Zisa over the centuries

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

The senses tell the historical context

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 ceiling

An architectural crescendo

A building constructed in a short space of time

The flooring: shapes, motifs and iconography

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

The architectural appearance and transformations over time

From earthquake to collapse

The mosaics of the naves

The Palace of Kings

The architectural space


The senses tell the historical context

The Genoard Park, the garden of pleasures and wonders

The rediscovered palace

The Royal Throne

The return of water

the Baroque exterior