About the Zisa Palace
The Zisa, built in the 12th century, was conceived during the Norman domination in Sicily, during the reign of William I, but it was finished only under William II. The palace was built in the Arab way by Arabian craftsmen, as was the case for the construction of other royal residences. The architects were inspired by the royal buildings of North Africa and Egypt, making the Zisa into a prime example for the strong connections between Sicily and the Islamic cultural world of the Mediterranean.
The name Zisa probably stems from “al-Azîz” (which in Arabic means splendid, noble, glorious, magnificent). The word (in Naksh writing style), found in the building's vestibule, denotes the Islamic characteristic habit of distinguishing the most important civil buildings with a special name. During the Middle Ages, the Zisa was part of a large hunting resort called “Paradise on Earth”.
Since 2015, the Zisa has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as one of the sites of “Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale,” a series of buildings that bears witness to a time characterized by the fruitful coexistence of people of different origins (Muslim, Byzantine, Latin, Jewish, Lombard, and French).
Beside the permanent exhibition on display, the building is noteworthy for its natural air-conditioning system. It is facing north-east - toward the sea - to better absorb the more temperate breezes, especially at night. These were captured inside the building through the three large openings in the façade and through the large window on the upper level. The winds were also moistened by passing over the large fish pond in front of the building. The pools and canals of running water inside the fountain room gave an additional experience of coolness. Even the internal distribution of the rooms was conditioned by the complex system that provided a continuous flow of air through flues, external windows, and other architectural tricks.
Monday to Saturday: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sundays and Holidays: 9:00 am - 1:30 pm
Last admission 30 minutes before closing
Closed: January 1, December 25
Only full ticket
Once a confirmation code has been assigned to your reservation, we can refund the cost of unused tickets, also for no-shows, minus a service fee (reservation fee and online booking fee).
Before You Book
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IMPORTANT NOTE: The time you select on the order form is your preferred time. The museum or attraction will automatically confirm the closest available time, which can be anytime during opening hours on the selected date, if your preferred time is no longer available.