Located on the slope of Mount Caputo, the ancient royal town of Monreale is both an agricultural and tourism center. The town offers a breathtaking view of the orange, olive and almond trees of the Conca d’Oro valley. The town’s Cathedral is a showcase of Norman-Sicilian architecture and beautiful Byzantine mosaics, which makes it one of the most visited Cathedrals in Italy. Next to the Cathedral is the 200 plus cloister of what used to be a monastery. The town also has an Arab fountain which was used as a lavabo.
The Monreale Cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. Built in the 12th century under the leadership of King William II, the Cathedral with its Norman, Byzantine, Italian and Saracen styles made it the finest Norman structure in Sicily. Enter the Cathedral through its Romanesque bronze doors made by Bonanno da Pisa which shows 42 biblical scenes inside decorative frames. The northern doors on the other hand depict 42 evangelists and saints made by Barisano da Trani. What makes the Cathedral very impressive is its mosaic interior which is as old as the church. Golden mosaics which show biblical scenes from the Old and New Testament decorate the walls of the nave, aisles, apse and transept. The Cathedral is also the final resting place William I, his wife Margaret and their two sons, William II and the relic of St. Louis of France. Additional two baroque chapels were added to the Cathedral in the 17th and 18th century.