Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio Church is more famous as La Martorana Church. It was built in Palermo by the Normans in 1143. The second name was given to the church in honour of Eloize Martorana, who became the founder of the local community of the Benedictian monks in 1189. As many tourists confess, the im pression of visiting the Church is great and can be compared with the impression of visiting the Cathedral in Monreale or Capella Palatina in the Palazzo dei Normanni.
La Martorana has been changed greatly since its foundation, but, fortunately, only in its exterior. The original Normans façade was rebuilt in baroque in the second half of the 16th century. Only the bell tower has not been rebuilt and today it looks like it was in the 12th century.
Today La Martorana is one of the most important monuments of the capital of Sicily, because of its unique mosaic decorating the inside interior of the Church.
Surprisingly, but today the Norman-Byzantine mosaic hasn’t lost the brightness of its colours and impresses the tourists with saturated colours like it did 8 centuries ago. The best mosaic of La Martorana has been kept on the western wall. One of the inlaid pictures near the entrance is devoted to the King Roger the 2nd. The King is shown taking the crown from the hands of Christ. The mosaic covers the walls, the columns and the dome of La Martorana. Different scenes of the lives of the Saints and the Holy Family put together one big picture, which attains the peak of art perfection and impresses the visitors greatly.
It is rather easy to get to La Martorana. It is situated not far from Piazza Pretoria Square with the Municipality and a wonderful fountain in baroque. The fountain was built by Franchesco Camiliani and Micelangelo Naccerino. Just behind Piazza Pretonia there is one more square called Piazza Bellini. La Martorana is situated there. On working days and on Saturdays it is open from 9.30 till 18.30, on Sundays – from 8.30 till 13.00. Don’t forget to visit one more church situated on the left of La Martorana. It is San Cataldo Church in Byzantine style which is contrasting to La Martorana.