Written by Ana M. Carreño Leyva
Photographed by Richard Doughty
As the Mediterranean Sea's largest and most central island, Sicily has lured invaders, traders and travelers since antiquity, and each one has left its layers of legacy. From the ninth to the 12th century, Arabs and Normans dominated the island. Along its western coast, in its capital Palermo, the Arab-Norman royal court of King Roger I rose to become one of the most influential seats of power of its time. Since 2015 the UN has recognized a set of nine buildings whose syntheses of Byzantine, Arab and Norman designs epitomize the best of a time whose multiculturalism remains a foundation for Palermo today.