Monreale is located not far from Palermo, from which it is possible to visit it with buses that leave approximately every hour from Piazza Indipendenza (About 5 Euros round trip). It was founded by i Normans in the eleventh century and their kings spent their free time there, away from the hectic life of Palermo. Legend has it that many monuments found in the country were built following a vision of King William II. In fact, he dreamed of the Madonna indicating to him the place where a great treasure was buried, with which he would have to build a temple dedicated to her. William II interpreted what happened as a real mission to be fulfilled and thus the Cathedral was born.
Let’s find out now what to see in Monreale. The full tour lasts 2-3 hours.
Tip from Topsecretsicily: For your tour of Monreale you can also book a guided tour of the cathedral, monastery and mosaics. If you are looking for housing, you will find several discounted offers on this page.
1. The Cathedral of Monreale
There cathedral of Santa Maria Nuova or cathedral of Monreale , included in the list of world heritage sites of humanity, is one of the most beautiful medieval churches in the world. It dates back to the Norman era (1174) and was built by the Norman King William II. Inside you will find more than 6,000 square meters of gold-ground mosaics depicting episodes from the Gospel. Hours: Mon-Sat 8: 00-12: 00/15: 30-18: 30, Sun 8: 00-9: 30, 15: 30-19: 00. Ticket: Free.
At a cost of 12 Euros, however, you can also visit the cloister of the Monastery, the Roano Chapel, the diocesan museum and the terraces with a superlative view. Times and fares may change.
2. The Monastery
Next to the cathedral is the monastery , where the monks wanted by William II to supervise the first lived. The columns that make up the cloister are very beautiful to admire and surround a garden located in the center of the monastery, embellished with a palm-shaped fountain.
Hours: Mon-Sat: 09-18: 30; Sun: 09-13.
3. The Ciambra district
Among the things to see in Monreale there is the Ciambra. This is the oldest district of Monreale and is located right next to the Duomo. In fact, the first Christian community in the service of King William II arose here, during the construction of the cathedral. It is really very nice, with small alleys, colorful corners, shops and small shops.
4. Diocesan Museum
If you are fond of frescoes and antiques, it is recommended to go and see the Diocesan Museum , always close to the cathedral. There you will find wonderful frescoes from the 1700s and ancient artifacts.
5. Belvedere public garden
To finish the visit and rest a little, you can go to the Belvedere public garden . From there it is possible to admire Palermo, the hills, the plain rich in citrus groves and the sea. The right ending for a wonderful day.
Activities loved by tourists in the surrounding area or in Sicily in general
Interactive map – Points of interest in purple
To locate yourself once in the area, click on the enlarge symbol at the top right of the map.
Where to eat in Monreale
After having listed what to see in Monreale, let’s now think about food. A good place to eat is the Giardino degli Aranci restaurant. It is located in the middle of the green in a beautiful garden, near the Duomo and the parking lot. From here you will also have a nice view over the valley.
Typical products of Monreale
Trial Monreale biscuits , invented by the Benedictine nuns centuries ago. These are dry biscuits covered with icing and with an S shape.
What to see in the surroundings
Monreale is located in the province of Palermo. Here you will find listed the places to visit in Palermo and surroundings .