Monday, March 9, 2009 Monreale, Sicily

School kids in Monreale

Originally uploaded by marymompics

We did so much today! Our day started with the usual Italian breakfast – either some sort of pastry or a ham sandwich. Then we headed up to Monreale. And by up, I mean up a giant cliff to the old medieval city.

Once there, we were on our way to visit the cathedral when we are accosted by an eager group of middle schoolers. On their field trip they are supposed to find an English speaking tourist and ask a series of questions. When they asked us where we were from and we answered that we were from California in the United States , they were all oohing and aahing like we were hobnobbing with movie stars. Anyway, it was very sweet and we took their picture and we made their day and they made ours.

Then we entered the cathedral of Monreale built in the 12th century. It was aglow with mosaics telling bible stories and creation stories and stories from the life of Christ. This was all done with the artistic sensibilities of the late middle ages. There is a heavy Byzantine influence with lots of stock faces and heavy outlining and skeletal and muscular details on the outside of the bodies. We listened to an audio tour which really was thorough in the examination of the artwork.

On our way back to the car we stopped at a Salumeri and bought some Sicilian meats and rolls for dinner. The owner was really proud of his foods and gave us samples of everything.

Our next stop was Segesta on the west side of the island. At Segesta there is a Greek doric temple from 500 BC totally in tact and a Roman amphitheater. I think the temple was the oldest thing we’ve ever seen (other than in random pieces.)

So a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting day. We topped that off with a dinner of our Sicilian proscuitti, capicole and salami and some wine at the bar.

Off to Agrigento tomorrow.

Monreale Cathedral

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