The flooring of the Palatine Chapel is made of opus sectile, composed of tiny marble tiles which, when looked at closely, feature different colours and various shapes and shades. The large porphyry tondos, for example, are derived from circular sections of ancient columns.
Touching the tiles that make up the floor with your hands, you can follow the perimeters of the shapes and patterns that oriental and Mediterranean craftsmen made for the Palatine Chapel. On the floor, in fact, 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. Ribbons and circular elements intertwine with each other in a burst of shapes and colours.
Can you hear the voices of the people who, during the reign of Roger II, went to the Palatine Chapel to attend mass? These are a few members of the king’s inner circle. Listen: the ladies coquettishly discuss their luxurious gowns, embellished with gems and cameos, finely embroidered in the Royal Palace workshop: the Tiraz. The other members of the royal family, gazing upwards, converse with each other about the magnificence of the mosaic cycle.