We are really proud to announce that Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale have been included in the World Heritage List.
The UNESCO program chooses and catalogues as common heritage of humanity the most important sites in the world, known for beauty, culture and nature.
We have never had any doubts about the strong potentiality of our amazing land and this news only sounds like a sweet confirmation.
Arab-Norman Palermo, Monreale and Cefalù consist of a series of artistic and architectural monuments which are the perfect example of the unique mixture of Islamic, Byzantine and Western styles in Sicily.
Scent of Sicily’s catalogue includes lots of villas in Palermo located near some of the most important spots of the Arab-Norman itineraries:
- Palazzo dei Normanni (Palace of the Normans): it is the Royal Palace of Palermo, located in the highest point of the old town. During the Norman domination it was the seat of the kings of Sicily, while today it is the seat of the regional parliament of Sicily. A small tip: Palace of the Normans is the oldest royal residence in Europe.
- Cappella Palatina (Norman Chapel): situated on the ground floor of the Royal Palace, it was the private chapel of the Norman Kings of Sicily. Saracen arches and Byzantine mosaics give to the ambience elegance, brightness and a deep sense of prayer.
- San Giovanni degli Eremiti (St. John of the Hermits): it is a church in Palermo built near the Royal Palace. Admire its big red domes sign of the Arab influence in Sicily, but pay attention: their colour is not the original one because they were restored at the end of the nineteenth century.
- Martorana: it is also known as “Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio” because of the name of its founder, the Greek admiral George of Antioch. It is a typical example of shapely cohesion of manifold styles in the same structure (Baroque, Romanesque and Byzantine art).
- San Cataldo: one of the greatest examples of Arab-Norman architecture among Sicilian churches. It is annexed to the Church of the Martorana.
- Zisa: it is a castle certainly inspired by Moorish architecture. Its name comes from the Arab word “al-Azīz” that means “the splendid one”.
- Ponte dell’Ammiraglio: it is an old bridge featuring 12 Norman arches that overlooks Corso dei Mille in Palermo. Like the Martorana its contruction was ordered by the admiral of Roger II, George of Antioch.
- Cattedrale di Palermo (Cathedral of Palermo): a real treasure among Sicilian monuments and a clear proof of the balance between artistic spiriti and architectural complexity achieved in many of the ancient structures of the old town.
- Duomo di Monreale (Cathedral of Monreale): it is the cathedral church dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
- Duomo di Cefalù (Cathedral of Cefalù): it is one of the most beautiful churches dating back to the Norman time in Sicily and in the whole world, located in the lovely seaside hamlet near Palermo.
So, what is left for you to do is planning your next holiday in Sicily, draw your itinerary and witness through your own eyes the beauty of this unique heritage.