An Excursion to Monreale: The Sicily You Don't Know

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 2 arancini (fried stuffed rice balls) and fruits and decided to visit Monreale.


In about 15 minutes I was in the sleepy town where it was unfortunately almost closing time for the day as it was lunch time! Not a great decision on my part to visit at lunch hours. Anyhow, I took advantage to see the much talked about Duomo di Monreale (Monreale Cathedral). Built in 1174, the cathedral contains golden mosaics along with tombs and crypts of the Normans. It is considered to be one of the greatest living example of Norman art and architecture.

Monreale, Sicily

Sleepy little Monreale

Monreale, Sicily

Hello there!

The Entrance of Monreale Cathedral

I now know why! The interior and exterior both were breathtaking! 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!

Mosaics made of pure gold

Credits: Wikipedia

The Cathedral was awe inspiring work, those mosaics have to be seen! After visiting the cathedral, I found a quaint Osteria where there was space for a long lazy lunch!
Monreale’s visit was only this but turned out to be a good getaway from the bustling Palermo. If you go to Monreale’s public garden, you can get a gorgeous view of Palermo and the sea.
My lovely lunch spot

Love the green outgrowth


Park views

Palermo from Monreale

How to Reach:
Reaching Monreale is very simple. Fly into Palermo from any of the big cities in Italy and take a bus from Palermo’s Piazza Indipendenza. One side ticket costs EUR 1.5.
Where to Stay:
Consider booking your stay through Visit Palermo– a tourism company run by locals.



Ishita is an Indian Blogger who is in love with all things Italian. Every year, Ishita seek’s new experiences and destinations in Italy; from the southernmost tip of Sicilia to the Northern most parts of Piemonte.

Ishita works and lives in Delhi.

28 thoughts on “An Excursion to Monreale: The Sicily You Don't Know

  1. I went on the hop on hop off bus, I sat up top and coming back to Palermo on the top deck with no roof, a rising full moon and pink streaked sky from the sunset was simply magic. Monreale is like breathing out after the frenetic energy of Palermo isn’t it.

  2. Gorgeous photos – I have never been to Sicily – very short responses as I have a lot of catching up to do – and…..I forget to pack the book that you recommended and I brought especially to bring – it is waiting for me at home xxx

  3. Monreale cathedral is indeed wonderful. One can just sit and look at the great Christ Pantokrator for ages. Also the combination of Byzantine and Western art is impressive and bears witness to the tolerant and inclusive attitude of Sicily’s Norman rulers. Try John Julius Norwich’s history of the Normans in Sicily. It is a bit heavy going but got me turned on to Sicily.

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