Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio: Interior, view of nave looking towards altar



The church is renowned for its spectacular interior, which is dominated by a series of 12th century mosaics executed by Byzantine craftsmen.

In a Greek–Arab document of 1143, preserved in the archives of the Cappella Palatina, Admiral George of Antioch (a Greek and a principle minister of the Norman King Roger II of Sicily) declares that he has erected the church of S Maria and spared no effort or expense in its decoration. In 1139 a convent of Benedictine nuns was founded in the nearby houses of the Martorana, where a small monastic centre may already have existed. In 1434 the church of S Maria was donated to the convent, which afterwards assumed its name. The original plan of the Martorana convent has been greatly altered; it now houses the faculty of architecture of Palermo University. By 1451 the church was in such a bad condition that the university requested the intervention of Alfonso I (reigned 1416-1458). From then until the 18th century it was subjected to numerous restorations. It has Norman, Romanesque and Byzantine elements and a Baroque portico (facade).


Attribute NameValues
Alternate Title
  • La Martorana

  • G. Massiot & cie

  • Altars

  • Cathedrals

  • Architecture

Date Created
  • 1910-01-01

Date Digitized
  • 2007-01-01

Cultural Context
  • Norman

  • Byzantine

  • Crusader (style)

Place of Creation
  • +38.114833+13.362942

  • Palermo, Sicily, Italy: Piazza Bellini

  • Palermo

Departments and Units
Member of
Temporal Coverage
  • before or circa 1910

Record Visibility Public
Content License


Collections Featuring this Image
Architectural Lantern Slides of Italy


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