Zisa of Palermo

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Crossing Corso Calatafimi you will pass by a Convent which hosts a macabre collection of 8000 mummies. After the convent stands the magnificent Zisa (from the Arab word el aziz , which means “the magnificent”).

This majestic palace in Arab style was started by William I in 1160 and completed by William II. The Zisa is a tall and compact rectangular-shaped building, with battlements and square towers in the middle of the smaller sides, once surrounded by rich gardens and exotic animals. Recently the palace has been restored, and the place is definitely worth of visit.

The ancient walls are still visible in some parts of the building. Huge windows, fine Islamic mosaics and wooden screens are all combined together inside this fascinating place, while outside there is a fine garden with a marble channel connecting some water tanks, recreating the old channel which ran until the hall of the fountain inside the palace. 12 pedestrian paths are spread in the garden, creating geometrical spaces where Mediterranean plants are cultivated, with a shadowy path made of climbing plants.

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