Today you are greeted at Palermo port and drive to Monreale to see where the Arab-Norman art and architecture reached the pinnacle of its glory with the Dome (Admission fee: not included), launched in 1174 by William II and represent the scene from the Old and New Testaments all in golden mosaics.
Then a short drive takes us back to Palermo to explore the fascinating Capuchin Catacombs (Admission fee: not included). The Catacombs outgrew their original cemetery in the 16th century and monks began to excavate the crypts below it. The bodies were dehydrated on the racks of ceramic pipes in the catacombs and sometimes later washed with vinegar. Monks were preserved with their everyday clothing and sometimes with ropes they had worn as a penance. The catacombs contain about 8000 mummies that line the walls. The halls are divided into categories: Men, Women, Virgins, Children, Priests, Monks, and Professionals.
We then continue to explore a large open air street market (Capo or Ballarò) that captures the flavor of Palermo’s Saracen Arab past. This lively market is a blend of general confusion and a jumble of vendors’ stalls, winding toward the old gate of what used to be the city wall. This afternoon we continue by seeing Piazza Pretoria and Via Maqueda, whose “four corners” converge Palermo at a quartet of baroque palaces left over from the heyday of Spanish rule dating from 1560.
Later return to the port.
This tour is operated with English speaking Driver.
Some areas can only be visited on foot.
Licensed local guide is not included.
Monreale: Gold Mosaic’s Scene from the Old and New Testaments
Palermo: Sicily’s Vibrant Capital
TOUR CODE: PMOMON