The Norman Palace in Palermo (Palazzo Reale / Palazzo dei normanni) - a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Norman Palace seen from San Giovanni degli Eremiti

The Norman Palace seen from the garden of San Giovanni degli Eremiti.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Norman Palace

The Norman Palace with the Palatine Chapel is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

Palazzo Reale / Palazzo dei normanni

The Norman Palace.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

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UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale (Italy) - new on the list (2015)

Located on the northern coast of Sicily, Arab-Norman Palermo includes a series of nine civil and religious structures dating from the era of the Norman kingdom of Sicily (1130-1194): two palaces, three churches, a cathedral, a bridge, as well as the cathedrals of Cefalú and Monreale. Collectively, they are an example of a social-cultural syncretism between Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures on the island which gave rise to new concepts of space, structure and decoration. They also bear testimony to the fruitful coexistence of people of different origins and religions (Muslim, Byzantine, Latin, Jewish, Lombard and French).

Palermo

Norman Cathedrals

The Palatine Chapel in Palermo (Cappella Palatina)

Commenced by Roger II and consecrated in 1140.

Detail of the interior of Cappella Palatina. The Palatine Chapel is part of the Norman Palace (Palazzo dei Normanni)

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

The Palatine Chapel is the royal chapel of the Norman kings of Kingdom of Sicily situated on the second floor at the center of the Norman Palace in Palermo. The chapel is a great symbol of multi-cultural cooperation. Craftsmen of three different religious traditions worked alongside each other

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

Originally there were 50 windows (later blocked) designed to illuminate at all times of the day the stories told on the wall.

The texts in the chapel are written in Greek, Arabic and Latin.

 

Norman Monuments in Sicily (selection)

  • Castelvetrano
    The little 12th Century church of ther SS. Trinità di Delia is, according to John Julius Norwich "the perfect fusion of Arab and Byzantine. [Link to the church on Google Maps]
  • Cefalù Cathedral
    "Though much of the inside is now distressingly baroque, the outside is exquisite and the great apse mosaic the most sublime masterpiece Sicily has to offer."
    After Norwich's book was written, the "distressingly baroque" elements have been removed.
  • Forza d'Agrò
    The Basilian church SS. Pietro e Paolo is situated a few kilometres outside Forza d'Agrò. The inscription over the west door dates it to 1171-72. The church was built in the 560, then it was destroyed by the Arabs and it was rebuilt in the 1117. The church was restored by the architect Gherardo il Franco in the 1172 because of an earthquake.
  • Monreale
    Cathedral and cloister
    Castellaccio (12th Century) on the summit of Monte Caputo
  • Palermo
    The Palatine Chapel (In the Royal Palace, also known as the Norman Palace)
    Sala di Ruggero (In the Royal Palace)
    S. Maria dell' Ammariglio (the Martorana)
    S. Giovanni degli Eremiti
    S. Spirito (the church known for the Sicilian Vespers in 1282)
    The Royal tombs of Roger II, Henry VI, Constance and Frederick II (in the Palermo Cathedral / Duomo)

Source: John Julius Norwich: The Normans in Sicily: The Magnificent Story of "the other Norman Conquest

 

 

 

Cappella Palatina

Cappella Palatina (detail).

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

Sicily

The Palatine Chapel: Detail of the wall.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily