Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 3, 2022

Dazzling gold mosaics in the Palatine Chapel

The most impressive place we visited in Palermo was the Palatine Chapel. It is in the Palazzo Reale, Royal or Norman Palace.

We walked through the Porta Nuova, beside the palace, to the entrance.

Palazzo Reale began as a fortress. Its transformation to a palace began around 1072.


We entered the interior of the palace through a narrow tunnel.

There was a long queue to get into the chapel so we had plenty of time to look at the decoration under the arches near the entrance. The Palatine Chapel was begun in 1132 and took 8 years to build. It is a mix of Norman, Byzantine and Arab architectural styles.


Once inside the chapel you quickly acquire a stiff neck from looking up at the magnificent gold mosaics, trying to take in the detail.  Photos don’t reveal the magnificence of the chapel, you really need to be there. It has been called the most beautiful chapel in the world.

The carved wooden ceiling is incredible.

After the chapel we walked upstairs to the royal apartments. The rooms are stunning.

The oriental room is beautiful.

My favourite was the Ruggero room built in 1170. It is thought to be the work if mosaicists trained in Byzantium with eastern influence, more Persian than Arabic. I was surprised to see a motif I am very familiar with.


I have many Ortigia products which feature similar designs. I can understand why they were chosen, I love them!

On the way out we spotted a decorated cart. It is plain to see that Dolce & Gabanna have mined their Sicilian roots for design inspiration.

The Palazzo Reale was the highlight of our Palermo visit. It is worth visiting the city for this alone.


  1. Quite incredible. Thanks Deb.

    • It was absolutely stunning. Worth visiting Palermo just for this.

  2. This is truly amazing. Thank you so much.

    • I had obviously seen photos, but I was completely amazed by the chapel.

  3. Oh Deb just love this Post. All the photos of the mosaics unbelievably beautiful but agree need to see in person. Thanks for this.

  4. That is some stunning chapel!!

    • Incredible to think it was built so long ago.

  5. Thank you for sharing Deb. Just wonderful!

    • The chapel is spectacular. The number of people inside is limited to give you a chance to really see the stunning beauty of the place.

  6. Stunningly beautiful chapel. The painting and mosaic details are incredible. Once again, I have to wonder at their ability to build and decorate such a place.

    • I find it incredible that this work was done with the most basic tools, no electricity and probably minimal regard for safety. What amazingly clever people they were.

  7. I guess this is one of those places where even superlatives can’t really describe them and do them justice. It’s amazing to think that mankind has created something so incredibly beautiful like this chapel. I definitely have to go to Sicily one day and see the Palatine Chapel myself.

    • You really do have to be there. I put a couple of short videos on Instagram, but that doesn’t close to being surrounded by this magnificent art.

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