Illustrating the Persian-Middle Eastern influences on Arab-Norman architecture, the mosaic designs of the Sala di Re Ruggero (King Roger’s Salon) inside Palermo’s Royal Palace (Palazzo dei Normanni) are splendid. Unlike their siblings in the Cappella Palatina (just downstairs in the palace), these mosaic designs are secular in nature, depicting hunting and natural scenes featuring trees,…
Our May Tour, Day 3: Be Mesmerized
Get personal with the amazing mosaics at the Cathedral of Monreale on Day 3 of our May Experience Sicily small-group tour. Built by the Norman King William II (“The Good”) in the late 12th century, this UNESCO site boasts thousands of beautiful and one of a kind tile designs, like the one pictured, that will…
Norman king Roger II established the Cappella Palatina in 1130. The chapel, located inside Palermo’s Palazzo dei Normanni, is in and of itself a treasure chest of extraordinary mosaics. This is one example, the dizzying, inlaid stone and marble floors.
Innocent and Majestic
This scene of Original Sin, that is, Adam and Eve with the snake from the Old Testament, is one of dozens of scenes that cover the walls of the Cathedral at Monreale. The Byzantine-style mosaic designs tell Biblical stories without words; however with incredible majesty–using glass, semiprecious stones, and hundreds of gold leaf tiles. Such…
One of Monreale’s Hundreds
Detail of Byzantine-Arab-Norman-style mosaic decoration at the Cathedral of Monreale, outside of Palermo; Created by artisans in the late 1100s.
Ancient Evidence of the Bikini: Enchanting Sicily, Day 5
The expansive ancient Roman estate of the Villa del Casale outside of Piazza Armerina was constructed between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. This scene of women athletes in the estate’s gymnasium is evidence that bikinis have existed for, well, a very long time! Known affectionately as “The Bikini Girls,” they, along with hundreds of…
Watch Your Step
Every inch of the Cappella Palatina is embellished with intricate mosaics of inlaid marble, colorful stones, and golden glass tiles. This floor detail illustrates the multi-cultural mix (Norman, Arab, Greek, and Byzantine) that existed during Roger II’s 12th-century rule, when the Palazzo dei Normanni’s chapel was built.
Show Me a Story
The magnificent Cathedral at Monreale possesses walls covered with colorful mosaics depicting stories from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. This image pictured demonstrates the story of Genesis 2:22, “Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.”…
13th Century Laser Show
The spellbinding inlaid floor of the Cathedral at Monreale is a tremendous example of Arab and Norman architectural and decorative styles. Semi-precious stone and marble pieces create dizzying and spectacular mosaic designs. Imagine a world without video games and computer generated design… this is the 13th century version of a laser show!
Among all of the summer-fun of today’s Ferragosto celebration, let’s not forget that today is The Assumption, the feast day that celebrates the occasion when the Virgin Mother ascended into Heaven. This Byzantine-style mosaic, which dates between 1146-1151, is from Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio or “The Martorana” church in Palermo. It shows Admiral George of Antioch…