Things to do in
Monreale

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Our most recommended things to do in Monreale

From Palermo: Monreale and Cefalù Half-Day Trip

1. From Palermo: Monreale and Cefalù Half-Day Trip

Escape the hustle and bustle of Palermo city center on a half-day tour to Monreale and Cefalù. Marvel at a Norman cathedral on the slopes of Monte Caputo, and learn the Greek and Medieval history of one of Sicily’s most beautiful towns. Following a pick-up from your hotel or the port of Palermo, transfer to Monreale where you will have approximately 1-hour to tour the Duomo. An official audio guide is included to learn the history of the 12th-century building, considered one of the greatest landmarks of medieval ecclesiastical architecture in the south of Italy. Then, drive along the north coast of Sicily, on route to the beautiful town of Cefalù. Sit back and relax on the 1.5-hour journey, and on arrival go to the 12th-century Duomo. See traces of the Middle Ages at the Osterio Magno. Get panoramic views from the Porta Terra. Discover Greek and Arabic pottery in the Mandralisca Museum, and walk down some curving stone steps to a picturesque cluster of 16th-century wash basins at the Lavatoio.

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Capuchin Catacombs and Monreale Cathedral Private Tour

2. 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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Palermo, Monreale and Mondello Private Tour with Street Food

3. Palermo, Monreale and Mondello Private Tour with Street Food

On this full-day tour visit the magnificent sights in the city of Palermo before moving on to the town of Monreale, where you will visit the fabulous cathedral. Finish off the day with a visit to the beach resort of Mondello. Your private chauffeur will first take you into the center of Palermo to explore its magnificent sights. Here you will visit Ruggiero VII Square (Piazza Politeama), the Theater Massimo, Quattro Canti (Piazza Vigliena), the Royal Palace and the Palatine Chapel – a beautiful chapel representing the best example of Arab-Norman art. After seeing the interesting sights in Palermo, visit the town of Monreale. Here you can admire the magnificent cathedral and cloister, one of the most stunning Norman churches.  Also visit Mondello, a popular beach resort near Palermo which was originally a small fishing village. Here you can enjoy the sight of the small fishing boats before returning to Palermo port, train station, or city center in the late afternoon. This tour will introduce you to some of Palermo's renowned and diverse, local street food.

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Monreale: Guided tour of Cathedral, Monastery and Mosaics

4. 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

5. 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

6. 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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Frequently asked questions about Monreale

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What people are saying about Monreale

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 123 reviews

It has been a good experience. And I recommend that people try to get a tour, it was fantastic but did not have enough time visiting Monreale and Cefalù but made the most out of it. We only have a certain amount of time to breath the air and to also observe the chatedral in Monreale that had a special history. But if we could, we would go back there with our driver Micheal.

It was SO hot and this was the perfect way to do the tour. Wouldn’t have minded a bit more time to explore Monreale town but was enough to see the church and enjoy a coffee. The guide/Marco was smart, articulate, well educated and personable. Highly recommend.

It was a fantastic tour to Monreale and Cefalu! Our guide, Marco, told us about two thousand years of the Sicilian history while he was driving. We all enjoyed the travel and the service!

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

Very enjoyable

Would suggest a whole day in order to spend more time in both locations