Monreale and Segesta, Sicily

Cattredrale di Monreale

The Cattredrale di Monreale, located eight kilometers from downtown Palermo, is a huge 12th-century Norman structure beautifully decorated in the same style as the Cappella Palatina in Palermo. Not surprisingly it was built by William, the grandson of Roger II who built the Palermo chapel.

This cathedral, according to the guidebooks, is supposed to be one of the best examples of Norman architecture in Sicily. It is stunning, with the same Moorish design and opulent golden mosaics as the chapel. Next to the cathedral is the cloister, also decorated in the Moorish style favored by William. The columns enclosing the courtyard are decorated with varying mosaic patterns and individually designed capitals.

One of the prettiest and most interesting cloisters I’ve seen in Europe.


After Monreale we continued the drive to Erice via the back road SS 113, avoiding the autostrada on this beautiful Sunday morning. The road winds around the hills of western Sicily and we noticed what looked like a Greek Temple in the distance. This is Sicily after all. It very well could be a Greek temple. I looked in the guidebook, and so it was. Segesta is a well preserved 5th century Doric temple perched on a hill with amazing views of the surrounding valley, well worth a visit.

For links to all the posts in this series see the Sicily page.

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