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 the Normans built in Palermo and around since they had taken the city over from the Arabs in 1072: in particular the three splendid and unique cathedrals! Another astonishing edifice, the Royal Palace, is part of the Discovering Palermo walk though it can be added to this tour as an option.

For this guided tour we will pick you up from your hotel or b&b with one of our vehicles: with a minimum of 3 people the vehicle is a luxury Mercedes-Benz 4x4 or a comfortable 8-seat minivan! After a 30-minute drive we arrive in Monreale, a city at the top of 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.

The last edifice 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 Normans invasion 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? We have been awarded the patronages of the Sicilian Parliament and of the City of Palermo, we provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee, our vehicles are checked every month, you can always talk to one of our managers. Our style is based on storytelling, our unique way of sharing with you the history and stories of people, art, culture, food, traditions. Book your tour now to enjoy the best of Sicily!

 

Schedule:

  • 8:00 Hotel or b&b pick-up by car or minivan
  • 9:00 Monreale
  • 11:30 Palermo Cathedral or Royal Palace (or straight to Cefalù if the Cathedral or the Royal Palace have already been visited)
  • 13:00 Lunch in Palermo or later in Cefalù (not included)
  • 16:00 Cefalù
  • 18:00 Departure from Cefalù towards Palermo
  • 19:30 Church of San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi (only outside view)
  • 20:00 Hotel or b&b drop-off

 

  • Booking Box

    Your experience starting from €99,00
    Number of People:

    Customise your Experience

    Pickup and back by car or minibus (outside Palermo's city centre):

  • 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 guide speaking a language different from English or Italian, please contact us.
    • For luxury services please contact us.
    • For special needs please contact us: convertible car seats for babies and foldable wheelchairs may be rented at €15 each.
    • For a tour leader service (cheaper than the guide service, only general information is provided) or a driver service (the cheapest option, good for those who don't need information about the sites), please contact us.
  • 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. The time may slightly vary according to the total number of participants, so it will be confirmed via email; 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: open (people from different groups may join in), though limited to 8 people in total; for a private tour please contact us.
    • 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.
    • Contribution: 1 person €249, 2 people €169 per person, 3-4 people €129 per person, 5-6 people €109 per person, 7-8 people €99 per person.
    • What is included: hotel or b&b pick-up and drop-off by car or minivan, guide speaking English and Italian.
    • Entry tickets: not included.