Cattedrale di MonrealeSicily’s Golden Age
The Monreale Cathedral was built in 1174 to honor the 9th century Bishop of Palermo, who was banished by the Arabs and set up a small church where Monreale now stands. The famously tolerant King William II commissioned the very best Arabic and Byzantine craftsman to assist with the cathedral’s construction, resulting in an amazing amalgamation of architectural styles and artistic traditions. Every surface of the church is richly ornamented in an array of styles, from the geometrically patterned marble floor, to the Corinthian columns topped with unique capitals, to the 6,500 square meters of dazzling golden mosaics, which are likely the most remarkable in all of Italy. Visitors can also see the tombs of William I and William II, marvel at the rich reliquaries housed in the Treasury, or stroll through the amazing cloister with its finely decorated arcade.
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