Monreale Travel Guide

  • Monreale
    by toonsarah
  • Chiostro dei Cappuccini - column's detail
    Chiostro dei Cappuccini - column's...
    by oriettaIT
  • Monreale
    by oriettaIT

Monreale Things to Do

  • 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:...

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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:...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • The Cathedral Cloister: Water...

    The most unusual aspect of the cloister is this structure. It sits at the SW inside corner of the cloister and blends in with the entire structure. It is without roof, with a 4 column inner corner, but is otherwise like the rest. At its center is the reason for its existence. Standing in a stone basin is a stylized palm tree in the form of an...

  • The Cathedral Cloister : The Capitals

    The rebirth of sculture occurred in the carving of the capitals of cloisters and spread to the tympani over the associated church portals( and funerary plaques), then pulpits and finally free standing statuary. They are a challenge to behold because they contain the germs of a great art form and because their subject matter and ultimate purpose is...

  • The Cathedral Cloister : The Columns

    The columns are small compared with the ancient ones inside the church, The technic for making large ones or their transport from quarries was not well developed. But they turned them out in large numbers for the other buildings as well. The majority have an innovative combination of sculture and mosaic work, a sort of grooving and encrustation...

  • The Cathedral Cloister: The First View

    This is a large square structure with 228 paired columns. Every column is different!(The reason for this variety is unknown).The columns are topped by carved capitals but there does not appear to be a theme to any groups of them. The columns occur in pairs except at the 4 corners of the cloister.The most unexpected aspect of the cloister are the...

  • Cathedral mosaics. The Ministry of...

    Above the plain walls with their decorative borders between each of the windows on the outer walls (North and South) of the aisles are mosaic panels depicting the miracles and other important actions of Jesus. These enlarge the Gospel for the believer. It is important to remember that this is the largest display of mosaic (in square area) in the...

  • Cathedral mosaics. The Life of Jesus.

    The life begins in the crossing on W. wall with parts involving adjacent S. and N. segments. It has 2 levels and reads from left to right ( sort of S. to N,) The first episodes are 4 Annunciation episodes followed by a Nativity. In the lower band you can find the Flight into Eygpt etc. to his baptism. The second part is on the S. transept wall and...

  • Cathedral mosaics. The Old Testament

    Th Old Testamnet Stories occupy the inside walls of the nave. It begins (Creation) at the East end of the South wall in the top of two bands. The scenes move sequentially to the West (between the clerestory windows). They progress to the West end and continue with 2 panels on the inside of the West end wall(around a window). They then procede on...

  • Cathedral Interior 1. The Main Apse

    The East end of the church is Byzantine in form with a triple apse. The center is separated from the lateral sides by walls leading to the crossing pillars. This is called the solea. The back wall supports the semidome. An immense area of mosaic fills the wall with a half-view of Christ in a pointed recess.Below leading down toward the altar are...


Monreale Hotels

See all 5 Hotels in Monreale
  • Hotel Villa Medea

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

    Good for: Families

  • Park Hotel Carrubella

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

  • Rocca di Monreale

    Santicelli 10/5, Monreale, 90046, Italy

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

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...

  • 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,...

  • 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...


Monreale Transportation

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Monreale Hotels

    5 Hotels in Monreale

    1 Reviews

Monreale Warnings and Dangers

  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    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

    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.

  • 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...

  • 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.


Monreale Favorites

  • extrajoce's Profile Photo

    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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