the church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio
the interior

The senses tell the interior

A play of light illuminates and makes the mosaics shine

The church is divided into nine bays, distinguished by four columns that form a square space in the centre and support the dome. The interior lighting, which creates a rich interplay of light with the mosaic decoration of the floor, the vaults and the sanctuary, is provided by the dome’s eight windows and the ogival-arched windows in the side bays and the apses, which are wider in the arms of the cross than in the four corners. The light penetrates and stands out on the mosaics that, attributable to Byzantine masters, cover most of the walls and vaults.

An intense scent of incense wafts through the church

The entire sacred space, elevated by 26 centimetres, was separated from the rest of the church by the iconostasis, an enclosure, typical of Greek worship, made of marble slabs and aligned with the columns. An intense fragrance of incense spreads from this concealed space and reaches every corner of the church.

Shapes, colours and geometry of the flooring

The Martorana floor tiles have intense colours and the lasting coolness of marble. The Martorana floor consists of eleven opus sectile panels, decorated with quincunxes and geometric motifs. The entire floor is made of white, porphyry, serpentine and antique yellow marble and is characterised by a strong adherence to the naturalism, typical of the Byzantine area, adopted from Cosmatesque and then Sicilian techniques.

A sweet melody

The melody of Basilian chants welcomes the faithful who, already in the narthex, meet the two mosaic panels with scenes depicting Admiral George of Antioch kneeling before the Madonna and Roger II crowned directly by the hands of Christ. The sound and rhythm become louder and faster: the prayer reaches out directly to God through song and cheers the souls of the faithful who, with clasped hands, gaze at the grandiose Christ Pantocrator in the dome.

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

The senses tell the external architecture and the original layout

The mosaic cycle, an ascending path towards the light

The mosaics of the naves


The senses tell the architecture

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

A building constructed in a short space of time

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

The Admiral’s dedication

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

The Palace of Kings

The opus sectile floor of the Palatine Chapel

From oblivion to the recovery of memory

The birth of the Norman kingdom

The senses tell the historical context

The senses tell the Zisa over the centuries

The senses tell the interior

The Genoard Park, the garden of pleasures and wonders

The mosaics of the transept and the apses

the Baroque interior


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

The senses tell the ceiling

An architectural crescendo

The senses tell the historical context

The senses tell baroque decoration

The interior of the church

The Royal Throne

From earthquake to collapse

the Baroque exterior

The senses tell restorations

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

Saint Peter’s Chapel in the Royal Palace

Intertwining of knowledge in Norman Palermo

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

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

The Cassaro

The senses tell the historical context

The senses tell the flooring

The return of water

The architectural space

The architectural appearance and transformations over time

Shapes and colours of the wooden ceiling

The senses tell the architecture and decorations

The flooring: shapes, motifs and iconography

The decorations on the bell tower

The rediscovered palace

The senses tell the mosaic cycle