Norman Palace

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8 travelers at this place:

  • Day115

    In a pickle

    February 19, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Nearly 8000 desiccated corpses have been shelved by category under the Capuchin Monastery.
    Each one is dressed in their Sunday best and pinned to the walls, sitting on benches and shelves or lying in open coffins rigidly maintaining class distinctions. The priests of course have their own corridors / rooms, and so do for professionals, such as doctors. Women are segregated and children have their own space. The 1st class lounge is reserved for virgins all in white.
    It is believed that the particularly dry atmosphere allowed for the natural mummification of the bodies.
    Some say that the priests would lay the dead on shelves and allow them to drip until they were completely depleted of bodily fluids. After a year in the very dry atmosphere of the catacombs, the dried-out corpses would be rinsed with vinegar before being re-dressed and sent to their proper station for ever.
    More probably a recently found description of an embalming process, which was lost for decades, was employed. It consists of “formalin to kill bacteria, alcohol to dry the body, glycerin to keep her from overdrying, salicylic acid to kill fungi, and the most important ingredient, zinc salts to give the body rigidity.”
    The oldest corpse in the macabre collection is that of Silvestro da Gubbio, a friar who passed in 1599. The most recent is that of 2 year old Rosalia Lombardo, embalmed in 1920. She has been so well preserved that people call her “Sleeping Beauty.”
    Photos are officially forbidden but I couldn't resist taking a couple for you.
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  • Day115

    All that glitters

    February 19, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Paid my money to visit the the Palazzo Reale, home of the Norman Kings, but the Royal Appartments were closed so I could only see the Cappella Palatina which is another UNESCO Heritage edifice.
    The chapel, consecrated on Palm Sunday, 28 April 1140, is famous for its mosaics - probably laid by the same chaps that did the Martorana and the central apse of the Cathedral in Cefalù.
    They are believed to have been made for
    We don't know for certain when the mosaics were made, but the mosaics of the nave and aisles were most likely made during the rule of William I (1154-1166), the second King of Sicily, ( 4th son of Roger II and Elvira of Castile,) also known as Gugghiermu lu Malu. (William the Bad / Wicked)
    The sanctuary, dedicated to Saint Peter, is reminiscent of a domed basilica. It has three apses, as is usual in Byzantine architecture, with six pointed arches resting on recycled classical columns and with many Arabic inventions such as the muqarnas ceiling.
    The apex of the dome consists of the Christos Pantokrator, with rows of angels, prophets, evangelists and saints.
    Better and more photos can be seen online; worth the effort.
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Norman Palace

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