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Palace of the Normans

By Linda Tancs

A stronghold of Palermo, Sicily, the Palace of the Normans is a testament to the cultural, historical and religious influence of the region’s invaders over the centuries.  The palace was begun in the 9th century when Sicily was under Islamic rule and still retains Arabian vaults in the basement.  When the Normans conquered Sicily in 1072, the building was transformed into an administrative and residential compound marked by arcades and exquisitely designed gardens, an appropriate dwelling for the Sicilian kingdom established under Norman rule.  King Roger II added the stunning Cappella Palatina, a chapel boasting Byzantine, Islamic and Norman styles that is highly prized for its elegant mosaics.  Following additional reconstruction by the Spanish and Bourbons, the palace ultimately became, and remains, the seat of Sicily’s regional parliament.

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