The Normans in Palermo - UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Normans in Palermo - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Visit the three splendid Arab-Norman Cathedrals (and more) in one day!

This tour includes all the best religious edifices UNESCO World Heritage Sites from 2015 that the Normans built in Palermo and around since they took the city over from the Arabs in 1072: in particular, the three splendid and unique cathedrals!

For this private tour with learned English-speaking driver able to provide general information about the sites, we will pick you up from your hotel or b&b with one of our vehicles: a big sedan, a 4x4 SUV or a minivan according to the availability and the number of people.

After a 30-minute drive we arrive in Monreale, a city on a hill near Palermo. Its main attraction is the Cathedral of Monreale, one of the greatest examples in the world of the Arab-Norman architecture. Begun in 1174 by King William II, it is the large extent (6,500 m2, 69,965 ft2) of the impressive mosaics covering the interior which make this church so splendid. To be mentioned is also the wonderful view of Palermo from the Cathedral's rooftop.

Back from Monreale we stop at the Cathedral of Palermo, erected in 1185 by Walter Ophamil (or Walter of the Mill), the Anglo-Norman archbishop of Palermo and king William II's minister, on the area of an earlier Byzantine basilica. In this cathedral, synthesis of history and art of the last millennium in Sicily, in addition to the Norman kings were also crowned Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy and Carlo III of Bourbon.

In a one-hour drive we get to the splendid Cefalù, one of the most visited cities in Sicily. A brief stroll down the old city will take us to the Cefalù Cathedral, dating from 1131: it's the first of the three Arab-Norman cathedrals. Its interior was restored in 1559 though the pointed arches of the nave, borne by ancient granite columns, are still visible; the only mosaics preserved are those of the apse and the last bay of the choir, remarkably fine specimens of the Byzantine art of the period.

Back to Palermo, the last church of this tour is the first built by the Normans: San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi (Saint John of the Leper), back in 1071, at the beginning of the Norman attack of Palermo. After conquering the castle Yahia (of which only few traces remain in the floor of the church), the Normans built on its ruins this church, following the canons of the Byzantine architecture.

Why touring with Palermo Walks?
1. We have been awarded the patronages of the Sicilian Parliament and of the City of Palermo,
2. our drivers are Sicilians and able to tell you stories and history of Sicily to entertain you while driving,
3. we provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee,
4. we provide a booklet with information about the sites,
5. our vehicles are checked every month,
6. you can always talk to one of our directors,
7. we can customize the tour according to your needs, i.e. we can add a professional tour guide,
8. last but not least... we provide quality!

Book your private tour now to enjoy the best of Sicily!

 

Schedule:

  • 8:00 Hotel or b&b pick-up by car or minivan
  • 9:00 Cathedral of Monreale
  • 11:30 Cathedral of Palermo
  • 13:00 Lunch in Cefalù (not included)
  • 16:00 Visit of Cefalù
  • 18:00 Departure from Cefalù towards Palermo
  • 19:30 Church of San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi (outside view)
  • 20:00 Hotel or b&b drop-off

 

  • Booking Box

    Your experience starting from €68,00
    Number of People:
  • Options

    • Internet connection: €10 per person.
    • Customisation: if you prefer a shorter or a longer tour, to add or remove some points of interest, and/or if you require different hours, please contact us.
    • For a driver speaking a language different from English or Italian, please contact us.
    • For a guide please contact us.
    • For special needs please contact us: convertible car seats for babies and foldable wheelchairs may be rented at €15 each.
  • Specifications

    • Frequency: daily (except Christmas Day and New Year's Day).
    • Departure: 8:00 from your hotel or b&b in Palermo's city centre; if your hotel or b&b is outside Palermo's city centre please contact us.
    • Duration: 12 hours.
    • Number of participants: 1-8, for more people please contact us.
    • Type of tour: private.
    • Location: Monreale, Palermo, and Cefalù - province of Palermo.
    • Modality: by car or minivan, and on foot.
    • Dress code: no shorts and no sleeveless garment as not allowed in religious sites; it is recommended to wear comfortable shoes.
    • Rates: 1 person €299, 2 people €358, 3 people €477, 4 people €596, 5-8 people €695.
    • What is included: hotel or b&b pick-up and drop-off by car or minivan, English-speaking driver.
    • Entry tickets: not included.