La Zisa Palace is an example of Arabic-Northman style which Palermo is famous for. It is situated not far from the most famous pattern of Arabic-Northman architecture , that is Palazzo dei Normanni. It will take you only 15 min. to get to La Zisa from it.
La Zisa Palace was built in the second half of the 12th century when two Northman Kings were in power: William the 1st and William the 2nd. For a long time the Palace had been a part of luxurious Royal Genoard Park, which included one more wonderful building known as La Cuba Palace which was a summer residence of William the 2nd.
La Zisa had also been a summer residence of Sicilian Kings , they had had a rest from there duties there.But when Palermo became the capital of Sicily, La Zisa stopped being used as a residence of kings. In the 16th century during the epidemic of plague corpses were kept in this wonderful building.
Since the 17th sentury La Zisa had been rebuilt a lot of times. In 1951 it became the property of the Sicilian Region and since then there have been some reconstructions in it. Some of its lodgings are still being reconstructed.
La Zisa can be considered more Arabic than Norman style because it was built by Arabian architects and builders. Despite the fact that nowadays the Palace doesn’t look as magnificent as it looked in the past, we still may see the luxury in its chambers having belonged to the sultans. The name of La Zisa has come from Arabic “ Dar-al-Aziz” which means “a luxurious house”.
The most impressive place of La Zisa is the Fountain Hall, which is on the first floor. The magnificent fountain is situated in the centre of the Hall, its walls are decorated with wonderful mosaic and graceful arched tangles called “mucarnas”. There are a lot of rooms on the second floor, some of them are used as halls for Arabic Art Exposition.
The price of an entrance ticket is 3Eur. It is open from 9 a.m. till 7 p.m. (ciesta is from 1 till 3), at weekends it is open from 9 till 12 a.m.