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Sicily Break - Monreal

Updated: Feb 11

Day two in Palermo we picked up a hire car which would enable us to travel around and see a bit more outside of the city center. After Seth negotiated his way through the chaotic traffic with the help of google and my navigation assistance we climbed our way up a mountain just out of Palermo called Mount Pellegrino that was the site of Palermo's patron saint. St Rosalia was a young lady that left a rich family of Norman heritage, to join a religious order and chose to live a hermit's life in a cave on top of the mountain to be close to God, around 1130 to 1170.

About 450 years after her death a pius lady after climbing the mountain drank some water that was dripping from the cave ceiling and had a vision of Rosalia who told her that her bones were buried under a slab and that if she had them dug up and paraded them around Palermo it would end a great plague that had beset the city. The people of Palermo did as the lady had told them and the plague ended. Many other miracles have been attributed to St Rosalia over the years.


St Rosalia statue on top of Mount Pellegrino.



The view from Mount Pellegrino looking over the Palermo bay, the mount is about 900 m high.



St Rosalia's sanctuary built over the cave she lived in.



St Rosalia in her cave.



The cave sanctuary.



St Rosalia's remains ( bones only).



The altar with The Blessed Virgin Mary.



After a bite to eat it was off to Monreal, which is about 10km out of Palermo to check out the cathedral that was built around the same time as the Palermo Cathedral. It was built by the King, who after a hunting expedition in the country side fell asleep and had a dream of Our Lady who asked him to build a cathedral in this place.



The main entrance which boasts one of the largest church doors in Europe.



The interior of the church is a very similar design to the royal palace chapel in Palermo, with gold mosaics and biblical stories adorning the walls.



The mosaic of Jesus in the apse his hand measures two meters high.



The ceiling of the main altar, similar to the royal palace chapel.



We able to walk out on the lower rooftop of the cathedral which overlooked the monastery not fully in use now, but used as a museum and still used as the Bishop's residence.



Highpoint of the church roof walk with amazing views back over Palermo and the plains, Tom was surveying.



The view.



At the end of the day we had to negotiate our way back to our accommodation through the chaotic roads of Palermo and could start to plan our next day out.


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