There are seven Unesco sites in Sicily which is not bad for an Island of 25.712 square Km. The last site to be inscribed on the list in 2015 is the “Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale” . We are not speaking of a single monument but of churches, palaces and cloysters built in the 11th and 12th century situated in nine locations in Palermo, Cefalù and Monreale.
It’s interesting to read some of the reasons that brought the Unesco to this choice: “The whole of the buildings that constitute the property of ‘Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale’ represents a material example of coexistence, interaction and interchange between different cultural components of heterogeneous historical and geographical origin” . In other words the originality of these monuments is this mix of styles and cultures present in Sicily at that time; Byzantine ( you will see this influence in the mosaics ), Islamic, Latin elements at the time of the Norman kings.
Palermo, that hosts the majority of these monuments can be the ideal starting point for this visit; Monreale which is a “must” for its mosaics is at few kilomethers from the town, while Cefalù is at less than 45 minutes by car but it’s worth an entire day being a beautiful and pictoresque village by the sea .
In the bigger photo the Palatine Chapel, the little church inside the Royal palace with its bizantine mosaics; on the top the Cathedral of Palermo and the Churches of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio and San Cataldo.