Inside the Royal Palace of Palermo, also known as the Norman Palace, is the Palatine Chapel: a masterpiece of Arab-Norman art, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Palatine Chapel, begun to be built in 1129 and completed in 1143 by the will of Roger II of Sicily, is a three-nave basilica located within the architectural complex where the entrance to the public is on the west side, right in Independence Square.
The church is dedicated to St. Peter the Apostle. In the center of the dome is represented Christ Pantocrator, depicted in blessing with his right hand while with his left he holds the gospel on which in Greek it is written “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me does not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life “.
The halo represented is that of a Greek cross, while the clothes are ceremonial clothes typical of the Byzantine emperors. Christ is positioned in the center and is surrounded by the four archangels and four angels.
The Palatine Chapel is of such beauty that Guy de Maupassant said it was “the most beautiful that exists in the world, the most stupendous religious jewel cherished by human thought and executed by the hands of an artist”; then, Oscar Wilde wrote that in this place one can only feel “as if sitting in the heart of a large beehive watching the angels sing”.
One of the merits of this work of art is literally the fact that its beauty is understandable to everyone, as if it were universal. The mixture of Latin and Greek, the facade that allows itself to be absorbed by the surrounding architecture and the richness contained within it in the form of Byzantine mosaics, correspond to the amount of narrative transmission that anyone who stops to admire it can perceive. It represents the ability to coexist different cultures in Sicily, suitable for maintaining harmony among its people.