Palermo’s La Martorana

Also known as the church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, this stunner is a 12th century beauty initially planned as a mosque – an example of the rich interplay of cultures that make Sicily so fascinating. Fatimid pillars super the dome, it has beautiful Byzantine mosaics. Sadly a Baroque makeover changed the facade and destroyed many of the mosaics executed by Greek craftsman to be replaced with baroque ornamentation. This took place when the church was given to Benedictine nuns under Eloise Martorana in 1433. We’ll see plenty of baroque in Sicily so it is the older parts that I photographed, including the beautiful Mosaic floors.

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