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Palazzo La Zisa


The Normans and the Hohenstaufen Kings of Southern Italy


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La Zisa is one of two survivors from the nine summer palaces the Norman Kings of Sicily built in Sicily for R & R purposes.  With the exception of wall mosaics, the design and decoration of these palazzi was entirely Islamic (Abbasid and Fatamid), including large water featured gardens. 


Sadly La Zisa has seen better days, but  it's still interesting to see and wander round and speculate on what the cleared area where some of the gardens once were might have looked like.  We walked here from the Catacombe Cappuccini, but it's a bit of a hike and it would have been relatively easy to drive and park.



Muqarnas are a distinctively Islamic decorative architectural feature - small pointed niches, stacked in tiers, each tier projecting beyond the one below.  In earlier days these would probably have been faced with mosaics.


These amphorae are to be seen under a glass viewing panel set in the upstairs floor, and presumably formed a hidden part of the floor structure.   Interestingly the Cistercians used to do this within abbey walls with the aim of improving abbey acoustics, but this was probably not the objective here!


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