The Zisa is an Arab-Norman style castle in Palermo and a World Heritage Site. Once, lush gardens surrounded the Zisa. It was the summer and hunting residence of the Norman kings.

King William I, known as William the Wicked, started building it in 1165, but it was his son William II, called the Good, that completed the works.

Walking through the halls of the palace, I tried to imagine the life of those who lived there nearly a thousand years ago. At that time, there was no television, no radio, and no cinema. What did they do? How did they spend their time? Of course, during their banquets, they talked about politics, but also about art and literature, to the sound of music.

These days, the Zisa houses a museum of Islamic art. What impressed me was the Tombstone of Anna. It bears an inscription in four languages: Jewish, Latin, Greek, and Arabic.  At that time, different nationalities and cultures coexisted and flourished in Sicily. Do you think the same tolerance occurs in today’s world?

 Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (Italian edition)

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