the historical context
the Zisa

The senses tell the historical context

A burst of scents: the parks of Palermo

Palermo in Islamic and subsequently Norman times was surrounded by numerous parks and gardens, organised around palaces, monasteries and splendid residences, both in winter and summer. Trees, flowers and plants with the intense and delicate fragrances of citrons, lemons, oranges, jasmine, cedars, figs and vines were introduced into these lush green expanses, partly thanks to the use of new irrigation systems of Arab origin.

The Genoard: a daydream

The Genoard, was one of the most important and extensive parks, a wonder to behold. Inside, there were residences, palaces and pavilions: the Cuba, the Zisa, the Cuba Soprana, the Cubula, the Menani and the Scibene. Ancient sources say that there were also exotic animals, fountains, pools, springs and numerous trees and flowers inside the park. A daydream!

The Genoard park: sounds, scents and colours

The Genoard park was a place of pleasures, full of sounds, scents and colours, like Persian Riyads, thanks to the presence of citrus groves and orchards irrigated by perennial waters. The pleasant sound of fountains, springs and pools of water surrounded by palm trees and numerous species of animals was a harmonious melody that lulled the ruler’s slow walks.

Sicilian citrus fruits

Cedars, oranges, jasmine, figs and vines are the many intensely flavoured products that characterise these lush green expanses where fruit trees and intensely scented flowers grow.

The senses tell the Zisa over the centuries

The decorations on the bell tower

The Cassaro

The mosaics of the transept and the apses

The senses tell the historical context

The senses tell the historical context

The Genoard Park, the garden of pleasures and wonders


From oblivion to the recovery of memory

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

the Baroque exterior

The senses tell restorations

The Royal Throne

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

A building constructed in a short space of time

The Palace of Kings

The flooring: shapes, motifs and iconography

The senses tell the architecture

From earthquake to collapse

The senses tell the ceiling

The senses tell the interior

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

Shapes and colours of the wooden 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 opus sectile floor of the Palatine Chapel

The rediscovered palace

Saint Peter’s Chapel in the Royal Palace

An architectural crescendo

The mosaics of the naves

The senses tell the architecture and decorations

The senses tell baroque decoration

Intertwining of knowledge in Norman Palermo

The architectural appearance and transformations over time

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

The interior of the church

The senses tell the historical context

The senses tell the mosaic cycle

The senses tell the flooring

The mosaic cycle, an ascending path towards the light

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

The architectural space

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

the Baroque interior

The senses tell the external architecture and the original layout

The return of water

The birth of the Norman kingdom


The Admiral’s dedication