Travel Guide to Monreale
Introduction:Located on the outskirts of Palermo, Monreale is an Italian town famous for its stunning cathedral that features some of the world's most impressive Byzantine-style mosaics. Founded in the late 12th century, the town offers a combination of rich history, stunning architecture, and breathtaking natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination for anyone touring Sicily.Getting there:The most convenient way to reach Monreale is to take one of the regular buses operating between the town and Palermo city center. These buses run every 20 minutes, and the journey takes around 25 minutes. Visitors can also take a taxi from Palermo, although this can be quite expensive.The Cathedral of Monreale:The main attraction of Monreale is undoubtedly its magnificent cathedral, founded by William II in 1172. The cathedral features an impressive mix of Arab, Byzantine, and Norman styles, which makes it one of the most unique religious buildings in Italy. The cathedral's interior wall is covered in 68,000 sq ft of stunning golden mosaics that depict biblical stories, portraits of the Apostles, and scenes of medieval life. These mosaics are considered some of the finest examples of Byzantine art in the world.The Cloister:Located next to the cathedral, The Cloister is another must-visit attraction in Monreale. The Cloister's arcades are covered in ornate marble carvings, and the central garden is surrounded by palm trees and orange groves. Visitors can take guided tours of the cloister, or explore the gardens and architecture themselves.Palazzo dei Normanni:Located in the center of Palermo, the Palazzo dei Normanni is a stunning example of Norman architecture. The palace has served as the seat of the Sicilian parliament since the 11th century and features a mix of Byzantine, Arab, and Norman designs. The palace's highlight is the Cappella Palatina, an ornate chapel featuring elaborate Venetian glass mosaics and bright gold ceilings.Walking Tour:Visitors can take a leisurely walk around Monreale to explore the town's charming streets and alleys. Make sure to stop by the charming Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, which is home to a bustling market selling fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish. Another must-visit is the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria del Cerrito, a peaceful retreat tucked away in the hills above Monreale.Conclusion:Monreale is a fascinating destination that offers a blend of architectural splendor, rich history, and natural beauty. Whether you're interested in exploring the town's religious sites, cultural attractions or tasting the local cuisine, Monreale is an ideal destination for anyone touring Sicily.