Monreale
Nature & Panorama

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Monreale: Guided tour of Cathedral, Monastery and Mosaics

1. 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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Sicily: 7-Day Sicilian Culture and Art Tour

2. Sicily: 7-Day Sicilian Culture and Art Tour

Day 1 After getting picked up at Catania Airport, enjoy a welcome aperitif in the company of your local guide in Catania. Afterward, enjoy a walking tour of the city during which you will see iconic landmarks such as the Duomo Square, The cathedral fi Saint Agatha, Roman Amphitheatre, and Bellini Park. Day 2 Start your day with a light trek on Europe's most active volcano, Mount Etna. After your trek, re-energize with a traditional Italian lunch at a family-run restaurant. You will also be able to sample some local wines from the Etna region. After lunch, enjoy some free time to explore the town of Taormina at your own pace before heading up to Castelmola, where you can sample the region's famous almond wine served with delicious biscuits. Finish the day by watching the breathtaking sunset in the village of Savoca, one of Italy's prettiest villages and the setting for the Godfather movie. Day 3 Today, enjoy a guided tour of the city of Syracuse, including a visit to the island of Ortigia. Here, admire landmarks such as the Cathedral of Saint Lucy, Caravaggio, Archimedes Square, and the Fountain of Aretusa. Afterward, move onto Neapolis Archaeological Park where you can admire the Latomie del Paradiso, Greek Theatre, Roman Amphitheatre, and  The Ear of Dionysius. Stop for lunch in the town of Noto, a baroque-style town with elegant churches and sprawling palaces. In the afternoon, enjoy a chocolate-making masterclass in the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily before heading to the picture-perfect town of Ragusa Ibla, where you will spend the night. Day 4 Start your day at the Villa del Casale in Piazza Armerina, where one of the largest and richest collections of Roman mosaics in the world awaits you. Afterward, head to the Valley of Temples, where you will discover one of the greatest examples of Greater Greece's art and architecture. Enjoy some free time to explore this sprawling temple complex, with 7 ancient Greek temples. Day 5 In the morning, head to the coastal town of Marsala to sample the town's namesake wine. Learn how to differentiate this unique fortified wine by its amber color and unique scent. In the afternoon, head to the Trapani Salt Museum. Here, learn more about salt production methods in the area and admire a unique landscape dotted with over 100 mills, some of which are still in function. Finish the day with a stroll around the medieval town of Erice, a historic and charming town located in the Sicilian hills. Day 6 Today, you will be visiting the towns of Palermo and Monreale, both of which are famous for their Byzantine-style mosaics. In Palermo, visit the 12th-century cathedral and immerse yourself in the city's vibrant history and culture. In Monreale, admire the fine mosaics in the town's great Norman cathedral. Afterward, take in panoramic views of the surrounding valley, filled with orange, olive and almond trees. Day 7 Spend your last day in Sicily at the seaside town of Cefalu. Spend a few hours getting lost in a maze of tiny streets and ice-cream shops before heading Castelbuono, a picturesque village hidden in the Madonie Mountains. Get dropped off back at the airport at the end of your trip.

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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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