The Medieval Kingdom of Sicily Image Database

Caroline Bruzelius, Paola Vitolo
2011 - present | Project Website

The Kingdom of Sicily Image Database is a geo-referenced database of historic images from the 15th through the mid- 20th centuries that represent the medieval monuments and cities constructed by the rulers of the historic Kingdom of Sicily: the Normans, the Hohenstaufen, the Swabians, and the Angevins. The kings and queens of these dynasties, who ruled from the late 11th until the early 15th centuries, were active patrons of the arts, founding, building and decorating hundreds of abbeys, churches, castles, and other kinds of monuments. Our database identifies, collects, and illustrates images that are found in museums, libraries, archives and publications throughout Europe and the United States as an aid for travelers and scholars. The images, which were often produced by traveling artists and architects as part of the Grand Tour, document the appearance of these historic structures prior to their transformation (or destruction) as the result of Baroque remodeling, urban expansion, earthquakes, the tragic aerial bombardment of WWII, and dramatic restoration.


The database is organized topographically by location. Mapping components “Map View” and “Map Research Questions” permit users to visualize their queries of the database in relation to Roman roads and ports, many of which were still the primary means of access to the Kingdom in the Middle Ages. Information about the website is available both in Italian and in English.

Our purpose is to make as many historic images available to the public for research and study as possible. This initiative was originally created with funds from 2011-2014 from The National Endowment for the Humanities; although we are currently not funded, we continue to receive it IT and data management support from Duke University.


Co-Pi’s: Caroline Bruzelius and Paola Vitolo

Project Managers: Olga Grlic, Joseph Williams

Data Manager and Data and Web Developer: David Tremmel

Project Coordinator: William Broom

Research Collaborators: Francesco Gangemi

Metadata and Image Consultant: John Taormina

Web and Visualization Consultant: Hannah Jacobs

Geospatial Consultant: Brian Norberg

Affiliate Collaborator: Michael O’Sullivan

Student Team Leader: Jessica Williams

Student Researchers: Jessica EdelsonEmma Keaton, Brenden Li, Adriano Napoli, Julia Nasco

News & Events

ARLIS/NA Reviews Kingdom of Sicily Database

Kingdom of Sicily Image Database Launches!