Originally designed as a private oratory of the royal palace, the Palatine Chapel was probably built in Roger II's coronation year, 1130. It is best known for its impressive decorative mosaics made by Byzantine artists during the second half of the 12th century. To set them off, the Norman king would appear to have wanted a wooden honeycomb ceiling, carved and painted by North African cabinetmakers and Persian decorators.
The chosen themes – great personages in royal garb, scenes from everyday life – evoke the Muslim world. Men sitting cross-legged on the ground, harpists, drummers, dance scenes and numerous animals beckon the visitor into this enchanting universe.
- "L'età normanna e sveva in Sicilia", catalogo della mostra al Palazzo dei Normanni a Palermo, organizzata dall'Assemblea Regionale Siciliana, Palermo, 1994
- Italie des Normands, Normandie des Plantagenêts, Musée de Normandie, Caen, 1995
G. Cappellani ; V. Noto