Arabo-Norman Palermo

Palermo is a culturally very rich city, with a wonderful mix of styles, especially from the Norman period when the rulers sought to maintain and promote a diverse Greco-Latin-Arab culture. Most famous are the mosaics in the cathedral of Monreale with its wonderful cloister:



But equally impressive is the smaller chapel called the Capella Palatina,



Which is part of the larger Norman palace that the Norman kings took over from the Arab rulers:


Near by is La Zisa, built by the Norman kings purposely in a mixed Arab and Norman style:

La Zisa.jpg

The wonderful Norman monuments are not all found in Palermo, however — if you get a chance, you should also visit Cefalu, the third of the great mosaic-laden Norman churches (and also the home a rather fine small museum, the Baron Mandralisca's museum, which includes an excellent coin collection and the vase of the tuna seller…)