About Palazzo dei Normanni
Palazzo dei Normanni, also known as the Palazzo Reale, in Palermo in Sicily has been used as a place of governance for centuries and remains so today. It is currently the seat of Sicily’s regional government.
Palazzo dei Normanni history
The Norman Palace, also known as the Royal Palace, is the oldest royal residence in Europe, home to the kings of the Kingdom of Sicily and imperial seat of Frederick II and Corrado IV.
Sicily has long been a crossroads of cultures, and that is reflected in the architecture and decor of the Palazzo dei Normanni. The island was Arab-ruled from 831 to 1072, enriching Palaermo with intriguing edifices and decorative elements.
Begun in the ninth century AD when Sicily was under Islamic rule, the Palazzo dei Normanni was expanded and renovated by the Normans from 1072. Once abandoned by the Normans, Palazzo dei Normanni would remain untouched until the sixteenth century when it was restored.
One of the main attractions at Palazzo dei Normanni is the Cappella Palatina. This famous chapel was constructed under the rule of King Roger II and completed in 1140.
The Norman Palace with the Palatine Chapel is included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Palazzo dei Normanni today
The Royal Apartments are open to the public when the Sicilian parliament is not in session. Tuesdays through Thursdays, legislators meet in the Salone d’Ercole, named for its mammoth 19th-century frescoes depicting the twelve labours of Hercules. The breathtaking highlight, though, is the Cappella Palatina, with combines Latin, Byzantine and Islamic elements.
The Palazzo dei Normanni is open from 8:15 AM til 5:45 PM (last entrance at 5:00 PM) Monday through Saturday; from 8:15 AM til 1:00 PM (last entrance at 12:15 PM) on Sunday.
Getting to Palazzo dei Normanni
The entrance to the Palace is in Parliament Square. The site is easily accessible by public transport. Palermo Palazzo Reale-Orleans is nearby and there several buses that visitors can take including the 104, 108, 118, 105 and 110.