the flooring
The Palatine Chapel

The senses tell the flooring

A floor of tiny glittering tiles

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.

The geometry created by craftsmen from the East

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.

A discussion of magnificence

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.

The senses tell restorations

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

The mosaic cycle, an ascending path towards the light

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

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

the Baroque interior

The senses tell the Zisa over the centuries

The architectural appearance and transformations over time

the Baroque exterior


The senses tell the architecture and decorations

From oblivion to the recovery of memory

The senses tell the ceiling

The Palace of Kings

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

The birth of the Norman kingdom

The flooring: shapes, motifs and iconography

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

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

The return of water

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

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

An architectural crescendo


Shapes and colours of the wooden ceiling

The Admiral’s dedication

The rediscovered palace

The Genoard Park, the garden of pleasures and wonders

The senses tell the flooring

The interior of the church

The senses tell the historical context

The senses tell the historical context

The Cassaro

The senses tell baroque decoration

The senses tell the external architecture and the original layout

The senses tell the architecture

From earthquake to collapse

Saint Peter’s Chapel in the Royal Palace

The Royal Throne

The senses tell the mosaic cycle

The architectural space

The mosaics of the transept and the apses

The opus sectile floor of the Palatine Chapel

The senses tell the historical context

The mosaics of the naves

A building constructed in a short space of time

Intertwining of knowledge in Norman Palermo

The decorations on the bell tower

The senses tell the interior