Monreale Travel Guide

  • Monreale
    by brendareed
  • Things to Do
    by brendareed
  • Things to Do
    by brendareed

Monreale Things to Do

  • Cathedral – Exterior

    “The exterior of the apse is the apogee of Norman decoration.” ~ Eyewitness Travel: SicilyWhen we arrived in Monreale, the cathedral was closed for several hours after lunch. This gave us some time to walk around the outside of the cathedral and get a good look at the art on building’s exterior. On first glance, the outside of the cathedral is...

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  • Cathedral – Interior

    “An amalgamation of Arab, Byzantine and Norman artistic styles framed by traditional Romanesque architecture, representing the best of twelfth-century culture”As you enter the cathedral, the first things you will see are the exquisite mosaics, so take a moment to catch your breath. Then have a look around at the actual structure before focusing on...

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  • Cathedral - Mosaics

    The colorful mosaics with golden tesserae background cover an astounding 6400 meters square (68,889 square feet). It would appear that no parts of the walls were left untouched by the artisans who completed this project in 1182, a remarkable feat given the building of the cathedral began just eight years prior. It is unclear whether the artists...

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  • William II’s English Plantagenet...

    William II is buried in Monreale cathedral in a white marble sarcophagus that sits beside his father’s (William I) brown porphyry sarcophagus in one of the corners of the transept.I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t know very much Sicilian history before researching our trip. However, I am very interested in British history and tend to focus...

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  • Cathedral - climbing the tower

    We came to Monreale knowing that we would be climbing the tower – it is what we do (Hubby just has a thing about climbing things and I typically join in the ‘fun’). So after we had seen the interior of the cathedral, we headed towards the back of the nave where we paid the man at the table €3 each to make the climb.We’ve climbed many church towers...

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  • Cathedral - Cloisters

    We were unable to get into the cloisters on the day we visited since it was a Monday afternoon and they were only open in the mornings on Mondays. It was a disappointment, but I was able to at least look at them from a distance while on the tower climb. From this vantage point, I could see the majority of the 228 double columns with Arab arches...

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  • Belvedere: the park behind cathedral

    While waiting for the cathedral to reopen, we were exploring the outside of the cathedral grounds and happened upon this park that gave us some wonderful views of Palermo and the urban sprawl between the city and Monreale. It was a peaceful place, full of interesting trees and we had the park almost all to ourselves, except for two guys doing some...

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  • Triton Fountain

    In the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele located beside the entrance to the cathedral is an interesting Triton fountain. The fountain was made by Mario Rutelli. I found it made an interesting contrast to the old cathedral behind it and didn’t quite fit into the scheme of the area. I might not have noticed it otherwise, but we were waiting for the cathedral...

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  • Visit the Catherdal

    After you have seen the cathedral in Palermo and its elaborate outside you will probably be not too impressed by Monreale Dome, but wait to get inside!The famous golden mosaic are all over the place and give to the place a majestic feeling. Be sure to check the timetable for visits: weekdays: 8:30 to 12:45 and from 14:30 to 17:00public holidays:...

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  • Visit Chiostro dei Benedettini

    Before or after your visit to the Cathedral do not leave out this wonderful place!The peaceful and quiet cloister will astonish and amaze you with hundreds of white columns, some are adorned with mosaics, other has incredible works of carving.The entrance is on the right side of the Dome, in 2011 it was 6 Euros and it was totally worth it.

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  • The cathedral

    As I said in my intro, our taxi driver in Monreale claimed that this was the most beautiful cathedral in the world, and once inside it’s not too difficult to feel that he might have a point, despite the many other claimants to that title. The cathedral is rightly considered one of the greatest architectural marvels of the Middle Ages, and is a...

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  • the cathedral

    Tourists flock to Monreale for one reason - to see the Cathedral. Unquestionably, the greatest architectural achievement of the Normans in Sicily. Construction started in 1170 under the watchful eye of King William 11 of Sicily. This remarkable cathedral has some of the best byzantine mosaics and intricate gold leaf work in all of Italy.

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  • Monreale Cathedral

    The Monreale Cathedral is a definatemust to see if you are in Sicily. It is a dazzling mixture of Arab, Byzantine and Norman artistic styles framed by traditionalRomanesque architecture, all combined in a perfect blend of the best that both the Christian and Muslim worlds of the 12th century had to offer.~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Transport:...

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  • Cloisters of Monreale

    The cloisters at Monreale are another star attraction. The entrance is in a corner of the piazza immediately in front of the cathedral, and there’s a charge of 6 Euros, which seemed a little dear to us compared with the 2 Euros we’d paid to go up on the roof, but it is worth it.There are 228 columns, many with mosaic inlay and all with a...

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  • Up on the roof

    In the north east corner of Monreale’s stunning cathedral we came across a small doorway and a sign indicating that for a fee of 2 euros we could get a view of the cloisters. We paid our fee and found ourselves not going out into the famous cloisters themselves, but climbing a stone staircase set within the cathedral’s walls. After a few flights we...

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  • Cathedral Cloister: Column Bases (A...

    If you look at the stone bases upon which columns are mounted you find carved round bases in the Ionic and most Corinthian and later styles. I have noticed carvings imposed on these bases( many but not all; most often Romanesque). I do not find mention of this in books on Architectural or Art history. The figures are most often where there are...

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  • The Cathedral Cloister : The South Wall

    This was the wall of the Dormitory of the Monastery which probably existed befor the other structures were initiated. It has a Norman-Romanesque style with a little Moorish influence. Wm. II brought Benedictine Cluniac monks here before starting hismaster plan to control the church inflence in his kingdom. The Monastery became Charlemagne's power...

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  • The Cathedral Cloister : The Fountain

    The Moorish influence is most visible here. The stylized zig-zag mosaics and bulbous fountain head ("palm-tree") and the psychological association of splashing water to begin with! But from the foliate top we descend to a row of miniature lion spouts (shades of the Alhambra) and below that a ring of well built dancing girls (maybe lusty Norman, but...

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Monreale Hotels

See all 5 Hotels in Monreale
  • Park Hotel Carrubella

    We knew where the hotel was located but had difficulty getting on the street.(See our Intro section...

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  • Hotel Villa Medea

    Via S.S.S 186 Km 16.800, Pioppo, Monreale, 90046, Italy

    Good for: Couples

  • Casa Rossa

    Via Pietro Novelli 297, Monreale, 90046, Italy

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Solo

Monreale Restaurants

  • Near the Cathedral

    We arrived in Monreale during the cathedral lunch time closure and, being hungry ourself, we decided to have lunch here.The Enoteca Trattoria has a relaxed atmosphere and it is nicely decorated with local nick-nack from the pheasant world, tools, baskets, lamps. They have lots of tables so it should not be a problem to find a seat.The owner was...

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  • Taverna del Pavone

    Slightly cramped looking inside, but a load of room to the outside, all under a canopy on one of the hottest days during ferragosto. A stone's throw from the Dome / Piazza Gugliemo II /Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, and much more to offer than the rather pizzeria and tavola calda type places we checked out first. One of those times you come away full,...

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  • Good pizzas in a cozy setting

    This unpretentious pizzeria was very welcoming on a chilly evening. The first thing you see when you go in is a large pizza oven, and the tempting ingredients laid out on the counter in front of it. There’s a huge selection of pizzas but not a lot else apart from some typical Sicilian starters – but if pizza is what you want, this is a good place...

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Monreale Transportation

  • Parking in Monreale

    If you drive to Monreale, which we did, there is a large carpark just down the hill from the cathedral. Simply follow the signs and pay for parking. It requires a walk uphill, but nothing too strenuous, in order to get to the cathedral. But we did not do this. Since we were visiting in the off-season, we were fortunate to find a free parking spot...

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  • Bus from Palermo city center

    There are different buses to go to Monreale, bus 380 that start in Piazza Indipendenza and A.S.T. bus- Our hotel manager told us that the best one is run by A.S.T. and take off in front of the train station, actually on the other side of the square.They explained us that the normal bus stop in an area that is not as safe and that this one is more...

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  • Bus from Palermo to Monreale

    The bus for Monreale is number 389 and leaves from Piazza Independenzia near the Norman Palace. It leaves from the West side of the square - if you can get your bearings ! The maps of Palermo all look North to South but are in fact running West - East beacuse the city is on the North coast. Once you figure that the rest is easy!Bus tickets ,as...

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Monreale Warnings and Dangers

  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    You need euro dollars at church

    by hquittner Written May 7, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Not only in Monreale, but many places have their masterpieces in the protective dark. This is one of many difficulties for picture takers. The Cathedral is no exception. There are 3 {maybe more?) problems. 1) bringing the correct change. In Monreale it is ONLY single euro dollars. Have at least one left. 2) Finding the coin machine. I think I remember that for the main apse it is in the left apse. 3) Having somebody with you to plug the machine about 1 minute after you leave them so that you can be in a good position(this may take a little more timing if it is crowded) Do not do this while a group is in front (sponge off their light). Even with your own coin, you may have to yell "stand back this is MY euro." I am very old and small and the intruder may be a down lineman from X but a first polite "ahem" may not cut it.

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Monreale Tourist Traps

  • isolina_it's Profile Photo

    The old man and his pony

    by isolina_it Written Jul 22, 2004

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    He just stands at the corner of a path you have to go through if you want to go on visiting the village, so what comes natural is that you start stroking at the pony but...there it is the old man asks for some coins for a pic.\
    anyway, i got the pic but...i dont remember if i ever paid him ;)

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Monreale Off The Beaten Path

  • Local artist

    In the piazza in front of the cathedral we found this local artist at work. I confess I didn’t feel tempted to buy any of his paintings, but I enjoyed watching him engrossed in his work, and he seemed happy for me to take as many photos as I wanted.

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  • Explore the back streets

    Of course the big attractions in Monreale are the cathedral and the adjacent cloisters, but it’s worth taking the time to explore the back streets too, for a look at everyday life in Sicily. Head uphill away from the cathedral and you’ll find yourself wandering between houses in varying states of repair (some newly renovated, some apparently...

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  • Streets near the cathedral

    Right behind Monreale cathedral lie these lush, charming streets, which offer a good complement to the touristic visit of the cathedral. So have a stroll if you have the time, as this will give you a better insight into modern Sicily.

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Monreale Favorites

  • extrajoce's Profile Photo

    Cloister of the Monreale cathedral

    by extrajoce Written Feb 25, 2003

    Favorite thing: Monreale is famous for its fabulous mosaic interior, and is the best site to visit when in Palermo, in my opinion. Once you have seen the superb interior, do not miss the beautiful perspectives and peaceful garden of the cloister.

    Cloister of the Monreale cathedral
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