Monreale
Churches & Cathedrals

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Our most recommended Monreale Churches & Cathedrals

Capuchin Catacombs and Monreale Cathedral Private Tour

1. Capuchin Catacombs and Monreale Cathedral Private Tour

Explore the ghoulish remains of friars and luminaries at Palermo’s Capuchin Catacombs on a 3-hour sightseeing tour. Wander along dank corridors through a vast human library of mummified bodies. Inaugurated in 1599, when Capuchin monks discovered that their catacombs contained a mysterious preservative that could mummify the dead, the goal of the site is to reflect on the fragility of life and consider the pettiness of worldly goods. Some 8,000 bodies of men and women were ultimately buried in the catacombs, including the mummy of friar Silvestro of Gubbio, the first body to be buried in the catacombs. The corpses are divided into categories, such as friars, virgins, and professors, and often recognizable by their decaying clothing. As you walk through the corridors, you will see ghastly bodies that include the mummified corpse of the painter Velazquez. Emerge from the gruesome catacombs and travel to Monreale, 6 miles (10 kilometers) from Palermo. Here you will swap corpses for gold and marble as you visit the 12th-century Arab-Norman Cathedral, one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the world. End your tour at the Benedictine Cloister, completed at the turn of the 13th century. Wander around the beautiful garden, surrounded by delicate arches and white marble columns.

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Monreale: Guided tour of Cathedral, Monastery and Mosaics

2. Monreale: Guided tour of Cathedral, Monastery and Mosaics

You'll take a guided tour of Monreale, which is just 5 kilometers from Palermo, at 310 meters above sea level on the hill of Mount Caputo. The visit will start from the cathedral, the symbol of the town, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage monument in 2012. The cathedral is undoubtedly an architectural masterpiece of the 12th-century, in which different styles are linked together: the architecture of northern Europe, Romanesque art and Arabic art. Outside, it is richly decorated by two bronze doors, the first from Bonanno da Pisa and the second by Barisano di Trani, who also sculpted the doors of the cathedrals of Ravello and Trani. The interior is illuminated by magnificent gold mosaics that culminate in the Christ Pantocrator in the apsidal basin as the highest expression of figurative art. Your tour continues with the visit to the ancient Benedictine monastery and cloister, which flank the cathedral, and a look at the beautiful sight overlooking the valley and the golden basin of orange and citrus groves.

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From Palermo: Cattedrale di Monreale Private Tour

3. From Palermo: Cattedrale di Monreale Private Tour

Enjoy this 2-hour guided tour which will take you to the beautiful town of Monreale, about 45 minutes car drive from Palermo. There, you will visit the majestic Cathedral of Monreale, considered the finest example of Norman architecture in Sicily and one of the most impressive architectural legacies of the Italian Middle Ages. The work was begun in 1174 by William II, and in 1182 the church, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, was, by a bull of Pope Lucius III, elevated to the rank of a metropolitan cathedral. Nowadays, its size is 102 meters (334 feet) long and 40 meters wide (131 feet). It is, however, to a large extent (6,500 m2) the impressive glass mosaics covering the interior which makes this church so splendid. With the exception of a high dado, made of marble slabs with bands of mosaic between them, the whole interior surface of the walls, including soffits and jambs of all the arches, is covered with minute mosaic-pictures in bright colors on a gold ground.  Follow the steps of your expert guide, learn about the fascinating history of this cathedral and explore its beautiful geometric garden. Ready to enjoy a truly stunning gem of Italian, and particulary Sicilian, architecture?

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Other Sightseeing Options in Monreale

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What people are saying about Monreale

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 1 reviews

Outstanding tour most memorable dinner to complete the day

Patricia was a splendid guide, knowledgeable understanding and a great communicator. In encouraging our interaction and meeting our interests we could learn so much more about Palermo, Sicilian culture and lifestyle in addition to the history before our eyes. The home cooked meal allowed us to share recipes, techniques and cooking preferences in congenial surroundings. A cooking lesson in her studio apartment kitchen would be a wonderful experience and greatly to be recommended. Its position amid a maze of dark and narrow lanes allowed it to stand out as a true centre of good taste and impressive hospitality.

More than I expected!

Our guide had a surprise activity for us following our tour that was welcome and COMPLETELY unexpected. What a fantastic day! Thank you Maria Louisa for letting us experience the culture of your city with you.

Excellent tour, our guide Patrizia was brilliant.

Great tour, the Catacombs were amazing and Montreale Cathedral was magnificent. Our guide Patrizia was very good and at the end of the tour prepared a terrific meal for us. I recommend this tour.

We took a private guided-tour with Patrizia, who was very pleasant and highly professional. We enjoyed the tour tremendously. We highly recommend it.

Interesting tour, but bound by the closing times of the monuments.

Patrizia, nice and helpful guide, above all an excellent cook. !!