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Royal Palace and Palatine Chapel

Palermo of the Kings

Discovering the Royal Palace and the Palatine Chapel

The Royal Palace and St Peter's Chapel

The Royal Palace or Norman Palace is in the oldest nucleus of the Punic and Roman city, known by the Arabic name al-Halqah, the Galca. The royal castle was built in the Fatimida style around the 10th century by the Arab emirs who made it the first seat of administrative activities, and it named the surrounding district and the main street, the Cassaro (now via Vittorio Emanuele).

Triumph of Arab-Norman art

The Royal Palace became in 1072 the residence of the Norman rulers, who built manufacturing factories and new buildings, including the group of four towers that formed the royal apartments and the Palatine Chapel, no longer visible from the outside due to subsequent works of the 16th and 17th centuries. During the Swabian age, it hosted the famous Sicilian Poetic School founded by Federico II.

Since 1947, the Royal Palace is home to the Sicilian Regional Assembly, previously the oldest European Parliament established by King Ruggero in 1140. Inside the Palace, there are the Hall of Hercules, where the members of the regional parliament gathers, the Courtyard of Viceroy Maqueda, the Courtyard of the Fountain, that overlooks the Palatine Chapel and the towers Gioaria and Pisana, where in 1801 the astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi, the author of the sundial in the Cathedral, discovered the asteroid Cerere.

The Palatine Chapel

The Chapel of St. Peter, known as the Palatine Chapel, was built in 1130, the year of the coronation of King Ruggero, who wanted to make it the symbol of Christian power on the island. Built according to the rules of the Islamic Qubba, square-shaped, has a three-nave Latin structure. It has wooden muqarnas ceilings, made by North African artists on the model of Islamic classic iconography.

The Palatine Chapel is famous for its mosaics, representing scenes of Christian life with obvious didactic function of recalling orthodoxy and Norman domination. The most famous mosaic is that of the Pantocrator Christ of the dome, also present in the Cathedral of Monreale and Cefalù, made by Byzantine workers and artisans trained in Constantinople. The tourist entrance is on Piazza indipendenza and there is an entrance fee.

 

The B&B Il Giardino di Ballarò is near the Royal Palace of Palermo 

The Royal Palace is only 550 meters away from the B&B "Il Giardino di Ballarò". Walking through Via Porta di Castro, the street where our bed and breakfast is located, you will reach directly Piazza della Pinta, from which you can already admire the Royal Palace, and then get to Piazza Indipendenza where the official entrance is located.

 

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