On my recent trip to Sicily, we visited the 12th Century Norman cathedral at Monreale. The interior is breathtaking, containing the most stunning mosaics depicting the history of the world according to the bible. Everywhere, gold (this cathedral was certainly intended to convey to visitors the wealth and power of its creators). I found it difficult to do justice to it in my photographs during the short time we had.

However, I was most struck by the cloisters, in particular the chiostrino, the small cloister at one corner.

The columns here are crowned by intricately carved capitals, and richly adorned with differently patterned mosaics – just stunning. The cloister garden is most peaceful, a real haven from the bustle of the town outside. I just wish we had had more time to properly take in the diversity of all the carvings and decorations here. I feel a return visit is necessary….

Monreale, small cloister

Monreale, small cloister

Intricate is the subject of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – see here for more.


  1. poppytump

    A real beauty this Cathedral Sue – well chosen intricate aspect ! Must have been a super trip you had with the places you’ve visited . My memories of this place are a little hazy .. I reeled a bit as I discovered my purse had been stolen from my back pack whilst travelling up there on a local bus :-/
    But that aside all that gold … yes 🙂

  2. and gorgeous architecture!!

  3. Beautiful architecture. You picked a perfect angle – lovely shapes, lines, textures, and colors punctuating it all

  4. Oh, my goodness, how wonderful! Hope you managed to have a lovely relaxing time away in Sicily. Missed your posts and glad to see you back.

    • Sue

      I had a most interesting time, thanks….but relaxing it was not! It has taken me over a week to start to feel I am recuperating. The price of holidays these days, but it’s a price I am prepared to pay….. I now want to return to Sicily! 😀

  5. Looks gorgeous – I understand you had things to do and want to return!

    • Sue

      Well, it was a pretty fast-paced trip for me….so there are places I would love to see again at a more leisurely pace!

      • It’s getting more and more important to slow down to really be able to enjoy things – my opinion too.

      • Sue

        Well, it certainly is for me with MS! In the past I would dash around, but I can’t even do most people’s normal now! Takes a bit of adjusting

      • It surely must. I guess you have to rest a great deal. Find a pace that works for you.

      • Sue

        Oh, I do normally, but tricky on an organised trip! I’m putting a bit of thought into how I can travel in future….possibly even shorter trips. We shall see! And it’s fine if I go alone or with friends, but that’s not always possible.

  6. Lovely decoration on the columns.Vibrant colours, and interesting designs.
    Nice sharp photo too Sue!
    Best wishes, Pete.

  7. What a beautiful place to be cloistered in! I love the designs on the columns

  8. Beautiful angle you used to show us such wonderful texture in this old place. I love the arches and the tops of the columns.

  9. I wish I’d gone to Monreale and I would love to go back to Sicily, the only thing I didn’t like was the driving!

    • Sue

      I would love to return and see a few places at a more leisurely pace – I was on a tour, so no driving but not enough time to stand and stare!

  10. Sue I find it hard to imagine the hours, days, well let’s be honest, years it would take to create such a beautiful building. I love the perspective you have chosen which captures so much in a single image.

    • Sue

      Thanks, Sue – I wanted to capture the intricacy and diversity within this small space, glad you think it has worked!

  11. It’s gorgeous. I want to go there (it’s been in my longer term plans for some time) Where did you stay (what town). How much of the island did you visit? What month was that? Sorry if I asked to much.

    • Sue

      Wow, Paula, the Spanish Inquisition!! Hehe… I went on a week long tour, staying first in Catania and visiting Syracuse and Ragusa, then off to Agrigento and Selinunte, stayed that night in Marsala. Then off to Palermo and Monreale (where this cloister was). Next day a visit to a Roman Villa, and final stay at Taormina…. Pretty full on. I now want to return and see a few places at my own pace!

  12. There’s something about cloisters… and these are exceptional. Sicily! dream on, Jo 😦

  13. A return visit is necessary for everywhere I think. That’s why I feel so lucky to have return visits to Warsaw built in. I remember an afternoon in Pella in Jordan absolutely soaking up the day and the place with that very strong feeling of “never again.” I look forward to your return to the chiostrino.

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