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Cappella Palatina

To the left of the same vestibule opens the most precious gem: the Palatine Chapel, called the chapel of San Giovanni (St. John). It has small dimensions (six metres by four metres), a longitudinal shape culminating in an apse and an important pictorial cycle. It is a moving place; in the half-light stand out the bright colours of paintings done in the 13th and 14th centuries during the Crusades. Along the side walls the so-called Holy Knights are depicted. From left to right it is possible to identify Sant’Ippolito, St. George, St. John the Baptist, St. Nicholas, St. Demetrius and St. Michael. In the counter-façade we can observe St. Michael the Archangel, St. Nestor and San Sebastian. In the apse wall traces of an Annunciation, St. John the Baptist dressed as a penitent, and St. Nicholas are clearly visible.

Outlined in the apse is the Christ Pantocrator, framed by a ring nut with the four symbols of the evangelists. The upper part is decorated with heraldic shields, while the barrel vault represents the sky, quilted with stars. A wooden loft and stairs cut within the wall structure lead to the large areas of the upper levels.

On the second floor is the light-filled room of the Hall of Parliament, characterized by the seats of the four mullioned windows; on the stones you can still see the graffiti of the prisoners from the time when the castle was used as a prison. On the third floor there is the great gallery with its large mullioned windows-lodges. On the same floor there are the halls of the Count and Countess. From the terrace you can enjoy, especially at sunset, a landscape of rare beauty. Here the gaze can wander from Mount Etna to the Ionian Sea and, looking down, Paternò seems to stretch out like a large carpet woven in thousands of designs and colours.