Five days is enough to get a “feel” of a city so when I was in Palermo I felt the need to take a short break and see a new town. I packed a small picnic box of few arancini (fried stuffed rice balls) and fruits and decided to visit Monreale. In about 15 minutes I was in the sleepy town of Monreale where it was lunch time and most of the shops were closed. Bad timing!
But I thought let me make this to my advantage and head straight to see the much talked about Duomo di Monreale (Monreale Cathedral). Built in 1174, the cathedral contains golden mosaics and tombs and crypts of the Normans and is considered to be one of the greatest living example of Norman architecture and art. I saw a big group of Japanese tourists sitting across in the church next to me. One of the ladies mentioned how Monreale’s cathedral was one of the most popular places to visit in Sicily, and is in fact considered the greatest monuments of Italy!
The Cathedral was an awe inspiring work of art. I may not be an art fanatic but I was literally gazing at those mosaics wide eyed. After seeing the cathedral a walk around town is mandatory and I was looking for a place to eat when I chanced upon a quaint Osteria. There was a space to eat outside and it was a perfect spot for a long lazy lunch!
Monreale’s visit was short but turned out to be a good getaway from the bustling Palermo which is easily visible from Monreale’s public garden.
How to Reach:
Monreale can be reached from Palermo’s Piazza Indipendenza. Buses run regularly and cost EUR 1.5.