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6. Norman Palermo: Architecture between the 11th and 12th Century

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Chapter Summary

The numerous achievements of crystalline figurativity in evidence on the island are the tangible sign of such protean cultural contributions, and of a Norman koinè. The feverish building activity characteristic of this period, and especially of reign of Roger II, was concentrated by and large in Norman Palermo. A counterpart to the edifices built within the walls of Palermo was supplied by the suburban dwellings set in the midst of luxuriant gardens, designed for recreation and otia. At Maredolce or Favara, by means of impressive feats of hydraulic engineering, the water from the springs used to supply the city were channeled into a large artificial pond in the vicinity of the palace, with an attached chapel dedicated to Saints Philip and James. The stereometric edifices, characterised by ogival blind arches that impart a rhythm to their facades, harmonise closely with the fountains and fishponds in which they are reflected.

Keywords: Maredolce; Norman koinè; Norman Palermo; otia; Roger II; Saint James; Saint Philip



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