Tour two of the most stunning cathedrals in Sicily, both from the 12th century and handsomely adorned with remarkably preserved mosaics.
Boarding your coach at the pier, you'll enjoy a scenic drive through Palermo, Sicily's capital and largest city. Originally a Phoenician and then a Carthaginian colony, Palermo was later ruled by the Romans, Arabs and Normans until Sicily finally became part of Italy in 1861. Over the centuries, the conquerors and inhabitants left their marks on the city's architecture. Perhaps the finest example of these multiple influences is at your first stop, Palermo's 12th century cathedral, which over the centuries was embellished with a variety of architectural styles, including Norman, Gothic, Neoclassical and Catalan. However, the apses were left untouched, so be sure to notice their intricate geometric decoration during your visit.
Continuing on, you'll drive inland, slowing ascending Mount Caputo, which overlooks a valley blanketed by orange, olive and almond orchards. Arriving in the village of Monreale, you'll tour the magnificent, 12th century Monreale Cathedral, which was commissioned by William II, the Norman ruler of Sicily. The rather modest exterior only hints at the glorious splendor inside. The Romanesque bronze doors, beautifully sculpted with biblical scenes, are amongst only a handful in all of Europe. Stunning golden mosaics cover most every surface, and the treasury contains a wealth of sacred art. Following your guided tour, you may linger inside, climb the stairs to the roof terraces over the cloisters, or spend your free time meandering through town.
At the conclusion of your time in Monreale, you will rejoin your coach and travel back to the pier in Palermo.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2.5 hours of moderate to strenuous walking. There are also a significant number of steps, an uphill walk to reach Monreale and some uneven surfaces to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Weather appropriate clothing; sun caps; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. When visiting the cathedrals, conservative dress is required and shoulders and knees must be covered. Shorts are not allowed. The order of the sites viewed or visited can vary.