PALAZZO DEI NORMANNI AND PALATINE CHAPEL, Ruggero Hall

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English / USA Language: English / USA

The small Ruggero Hall is the most beautiful in the palace, and maintains its magnificent Norman decoration.

The lower part of the wall is covered in marble slabs with mosaic inserts.

The ceiling mosaics are from the same period as those in the Palatine Chapel, but the style is different. Despite the evident Persian influences and the numerous arabesques, they are believed to be the work of Western craftsmen, and feature highly stylized trees and animals, fantastic creatures and hunting scenes, on a gold background.

The peacocks represent eternal life, and when shown drinking from a vase, symbolize Christian salvation. The lions represent power and regality, while the leopards are reminiscent of the exotic animals the kings used to keep as a sign of prestige. The hunting scenes are a celebration of the main leisure activity of the noble classes. Overall, a fairytale atmosphere is created. 

The mosaics on the vault, featuring real and imaginary animals, set into a complex decorative pattern, date back to the time of Frederick II, whose emblem was the imperial eagle you see depicted in the center. Taken as a whole, they are reminiscent of a fine oriental fabric.   

If you look closely at the peculiar pattern on the top of the little bronze table, you’ll see it’s actually a section of a petrified tree stump dating to the 19th century.

The numerous halls in the palace also include the large Hercules Room, used for court meetings and transformed in the 16th century. Here you can see two splendid frescoes from 1799 by Giuseppe Velasco, the Apotheosis of Hercules and the Twelve Labors of Hercules, painted in a single color to mimic stone bas-reliefs. The Sicilian Regional Assembly has met here since 1947.

Finally, don’t miss the Treasury Room in the Pisan Tower. Set into the walls, you can still see the amphorae that coins were placed in, and the large stone they were minted on.

 

 

An interesting fact: in 1791, the Astronomical Observatory was added to the top of the Pisan Tower, and its powerful telescope discovered Ceres, the largest asteroid in the solar system.

Our visit to the Royal Palace of Palermo ends here. MyWoWo would like to thank you - see you again at another Wonder of the World!

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