Monreale Cathedral

The town of Monreale (meaning “royal mountain”) sits 300 meters above sea level, overlooking Palermo. The Monreale Cathedral, built between 1170 and 1189 AD, is considered the most beautiful church in all of Sicily. A unique blend of Norman-Romanesque architecture and Byzantine craftsmanship, with additional Arab influences, it contains 6,000 square meters of mosaics made with 2200 kg of pure gold.

Somewhere I read (though I can’t find the source now) a Sicilian saying that if you go to Palermo a donkey and don’t visit Monreale, you return an ass. Not wanting that moniker hanging over my head, I obviously needed to take the drive and see what the fuss was about before leaving Balestrate. It did not disappoint. These photos fail to capture the glory of this place.

Porta del Paradiso

The first thing that struck me: in an empty cathedral, the almost eeriness of social distanced chairs.

Christ Pantocrator (meaning Almighty from the Greek words pan / pantos “all” and kratos “strength, might, power.”

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