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Monreale Cathedral

A forty-minute by bus ride from Palermo takes you to the Cathedral of Monreale. This cathedral was constructed during the reign of William II of Normandy, between 1172 and 1190, and is a living example of the fusion of cultures and religions that existed in Sicily during that period. It boasts a syncretic style as it was built by combining Norman architecture with aspects of Moorish art. It consists of a main nave with two wings and an apse. The most surprising features are the interior walls, as they are covered with more than 6,000 m2 of Byzantine gold mosaics inspired by those in the Palatine Chapel in Palermo. The mosaics recount episodes from the Bible, from the creation to the passion of Christ in chronological order from left to right. An impressive Christ Pantocrator crowns the apse leaving visitors speechless.

Adjacent to the cathedral can be found the cloister and its 228 columns, each one supporting a different ornament, along with a number of Arab-inspired arches.

You can travel to Monreale by bus (number 389), which passes by the Piazza Independencia in Palermo. It costs nothing to get into the cathedral but you can hire an audio-guide for 5 euros. Entry to the cloister costs 6 euros.


By Isabel Romano from Diario de a bordo

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