Palermo, Norman Palace

Also known as Palazzo dei Normani
Era 12AD
Location Piazza Indipendenza, 1, 90129 Palermo PA, Italy

Mosaic was used in at least two rooms of King Roger’s palace in Palermo, though they have proved almost impossible to date with any precision. In part, this is because they are so different in appearance to those of the Cappella Palatina. In the so-called Stanza di Ruggiero (‘Roger’s Room’), also known as the Sala Normanna, mosaics cover the upper part of the room – the walls, arches and vault from springing of arches. They take the form of circular medallions with animal motifs. The east and west side walls are almost identical: deer, archers and running dogs in pairs separated by trees. The lower register differs on the two walls: the west wall has peacocks (modern), swans, and a probably recent door; the east wall has lions and palm trees. All are arranged symmetrically, almost heraldically. Opposite the door are centaurs shooting arrows, leopards and peacocks. The colour range is green, gold, pink and blue. Fragments in the Sala dei Armigeri in the Torre Pisana of the palace – a water bird, hooves, walls and ornamental scrolls – also survive. These two rooms are the only parts of the palace to have any mosaic decoration, but there is no reason why there could not have been much more.

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