Few places in Palermo evoke the Arab past as evocatively as this pleasure palace of pleasure-loving Norman king William I. Arriving in Palermo, the 12th-century ruler went gloriously native, hiring craftsmen to create his summer retreat—Zisa translates as “splendid”—in Moorish style. Arches, niches, fountains, towers, and ingenious cooling systems (contrived from breezes flowing over pools and through interior vents) were all geared to creating an exotic retreat. Just enough remains of the palace, derelict until a recent restoration effort, to suggest its onetime glory.