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Virtual Italy Tour of Monreale

Overview of Monreale

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. This hillside town also overlooks Palermo and gives residents as well as visitors a great view of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the islands located to the north of Sicily.

Mosaic in Monreale Cathedral

Mosaic in Monreale Cathedral

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. It is also one of the most famous cultural treasures of the island. Next to the Cathedral is the 200 plus cloister of what used to be a monastery.

Where to Go and What to See

While the town itself is not as big as most of the towns that people tend to visit in Italy, this is one locality you would not want to miss. The town has one main attraction, which is its cathedral, however the cloisters near it are also considered an attraction all its own, with tourists heading to both and exploring them at their own leisure.

Cattedrale di Monreale – The Duomo di Monreale is considered one of the country’s national monuments and is also the island’s best tourist attractions. The cathedral’s greatest draw is its majestic mosaics, which depict different scriptures from the bible. For example, one of the mosaics found on the south wall of the cathedral shows Noah, the ark, and the dove with the olive leaf, portraying the time when the floods have ended and land was found.

The Cloister of Monreale – The cloister found beside the cathedral is Benedictine and was completed in 1200. These are found on the southern side of the Cattedrale and have 26 arches on columns. These columns have intricate carvings and the capitals come with depictions of various stories from the Old and New Testament. These are made out of white marble but the passage of time has worn these out to give these a sandstone-like appearance.

What to Do

Aside from exploring the cathedral and marveling at the mosaics found in it, along with the unique pillars and capitals of the cloister, there are a few other things you can enjoy in Monreale. Here are some of them:

Fresh Italian Seafood

Fresh Italian Seafood

Enjoy the Bounty of the Sea – If you love shrimp, squid, and other types of seafood, then you will definitely love one of the notable restaurants in this little town in Palermo. Don’t expect the usual however since the Ciambra serves rather unique takes on traditional Italian fare. Want to try shrimp tartare with strawberry infused into it? How about squid with aubergine cream? Of course, this restaurant also serves some of the classics, such as pasta with shrimp and other similar dishes.

Shop for Souvenirs and Gifts – The town has a few souvenir and gift shops that you can explore and these don’t sell the usual “I Love Monreale” T-shirts and magnets that seem to be the staple of most tourist destinations. Here you will find unique terracotta jars, bowls, and vases. These shops also sell novelty items and costume jewelry for those who want colorful and fun-looking items from the area.

Coming to Monreale will give you the chance to explore one of the most exceptional cathedrals in the country without the need to rush through it to get to another tourist attraction in the area. This is a great stop to add to a trip that takes you through the many cities and towns of Sicily and can be part of a customized tour that we can help put together for you. To find out more, call Tour Italy Now at 800.955.4418.