Palazzo della Cuba


    During the reigns of the two Williams, a new type of royal retreat came into vogue, consisting of more than one storey. Although eastern influence was still strong, Siculo-Norman buildings tended to be higher and more obviously influenced by western architectural models. During the latter part of his reign, William I (1154–1166) began work on the Palazzo della Zisa, which was completed by his son, William II, who reigned from 1166 to 1189.
William II also built the Palazzo della Cuba. Situated in the middle of an artificial lake and surrounded by a luxuriant park with avenues of trees, fountains and small domed pavilions, this building is one of the finest surviving examples of a medieval Islamic palace. It consisted of three main rooms: the entrance (with stairways), the Fountain Room, and a portico-belvedere overlooking the lake. The large central room was sheltered by a cupola supported by a four-sided arched structure resting on columns. The Arabic inscription, carved on the apex, attributes the work to William II and dates it to the year 1180 of the Christian era.

Vittorio Noto

V. Noto, " Les palais et les jardins siciliens des rois normands", in : Trésor romans d'Italie du Sud et de Sicile, Toulouse-Caen, 1995
V. anche le schede di Fawara e Altofonte e della Zisa
G. Caronia -V. Noto, "La Cuba di Palermo, Arabi e Normanni nel XII sec.", Palermo, 1988

Melo Minnella e Vittorio Noto, Palermo