Monreale Duomo picture
Neil Weightman/Flickr

Key Info

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Churches/Religious Sites, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.2scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

This cathedral, located right outside of Palermo, is clearly a favorite among travelers as well as reviewers. One TripAdvisor user says: "The draw here is the incredible, lavish hand worked mosaics that cover every inch of the ceilings and a good bit of the walls. Entrance into the Cathedral itself is free. What a bargain!" Frommer's says this: "Arabo-Norman art and architecture reached the pinnacle of its beauty in this cathedral, launched in 1174 by William II."

Pay particular attention to the bronze doors, which are covered in dozens of biblical scenes. These were designed by none-other-than Bonanno Pisano, who was responsible for the Leaning Tower of Pisa (although this is now being debated). The cathedral's fold interior envelopes you as you step inside. The mosaics are particularly arresting. And though you'll be charged a small fee to ascend the terraces, we highly recommend it; the bird's eye view of first the church and then the surrounding countryside is not to be missed.

Admission to the Monreale Duomo itself is free, but features like cloisters, treasury and terraces each cost a small fee to explore. From May to September, the cathedral is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The rest of the year, it closes for a midday siesta at 12:30 p.m. to reopen at 3:30 p.m.

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Mount Etna1 of 8
San Vito lo Capo2 of 8
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Mount Etna

This fuming mountain, located in the Sicilian province of Catania, is Europe's largest active volcano. The easiest way to get to this majestic natural attraction is to rent a car or join a tour group (Sicily Life and Legendary Sicily are popular companies). Once there, you can hike on some of the craters. But to really reach the heights, you'll need to take a cable car (offered by Funivia dell'Etna) from the Rifugio Sapienza building; this will cost you around €23 EUR or about $32.50 USD.  Then, from the cable-car's drop-off you can either climb even higher up the mountain to a safe viewing point or hop in one of the tour trucks for an additional fee.

One pleased TripAdvisor user says, "The landscape is like nothing you have ever seen before, just breathtakingly deserted and lunar-like." The same user recommends being prepared for the altitude and temperature change on the volcano by wearing some kind of waterproof clothing, a warm jacket and some hiking boots, or at least footwear that's somewhat sturdy.

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ciccioetneo/Flickr
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