Sacred Sunday: 12th Century Mosaics in the Cappella Palatina, Palermo, Italy (1140-70)

Crash Course

Palermo

Located within the Palazzo dei Normanni (Palace of the Normans), the Cappella Palatina (Palatine Chapel) is the finest example of Arab-Norman art in Palermo. Together the palace and its chapel are the greatest attractions of Palermo and the only must-see sight for visitors with limited time.

The Cappella Palatina was built by Roger II, king of Sicily. It was the second important church erected at the initiative of the king, its construction began in 1132, a year after the laying of the cornerstone of Cefalù’s cathedral. It was consecrated in 1140, and the execution of the extensive mosaic decor, covering the entire interior, began after that date.

The palace chapel is a blend of Roman and Greek building types. To the east of its three-aisle nave is a sanctuary consisting of a central space topped by a cupola, two transepts, a main apse with a preceding bay, and two secondary apses…

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