Monreale - the Benedictine Cloister

The Benedictine Cloister at Monreale was completed c. 1200. It measures 47x47 metres and is located on the south side of the cathedral. Each side has 26 arches resting on columns. The splendid capitals include narrative cycles from the Old and New Testaments.

 

Capital, the Benedictine Cloister, Monreale

Some of the columns have beautifully carved ornaments with various motives.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

 

Click here for photos of the Monreale Cathedral!

Click here for photos of Monreale

 

 

 

Monreale cloister seen from the roof

The Monreale cloister seen from the roof. The entrance to the roof is on the southwestern corner of the nave. The view of the Conca d'Oro and the coast is breathtaking from the roof, and should definitely not be missed if you have time and can manage the 180 steps. Walkways also lead around the apse of the cathedral, offering you a closer look at the mosaics that are high above the church floor.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Monreale: Benedictine Cloister

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

Capitals in the Benedictine Cloister, Monreale

Monreale - the Benedictine Cloister

Capital at the Benedictine Cloister, Monreale. The cathedral can be seen in the background.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

 

Capital, the Benedictine Cloister, Monreale

The capitals in the cloister of the abbey of Monreale were carved from white marble, but over time has acquired a thick, sandstone patina that covers them almost entirely.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

The Benedictine Cloister at Monreale: Samson story

Episodes from the life of Samson constitute the central theme of this capital. The west side of the double capital combines two separate incidents: On the left is the wedding feast where Samson tells his riddle -“Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet” - the answer to which is extorted from his wife. On the right Samson slaughters the Philistines, an event that he will repeat later on using the jaw bone of a ass. The name SANSON is inscribed several times on the capital. The Philistines are also designated with an inscription - FILIIS STEIS - and the east side of the capital also bears the inscribed caption: PO / NA / ANI / MA / ME / R. (Source: The Cenobium Project).

Judges 14,12-13 (King James Version) 12 And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments: 13 But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

 

Capital, the Benedictine Cloister, Monreale

Adam and Eve are shown naked next to the Tree of Knowledge. Eve reaches for the forbidden fruit.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

Capital, the Benedictine Cloister, Monreale

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Capital, the Benedictine Cloister, Monreale

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

 

Capital, the Benedictine Cloister, Monreale

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Capital, the Benedictine Cloister, Monreale

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

 

 

 

The Columns

Columns, the Benedictine Cloister, Monreale

Many of the columns are richly decorated, inlaid with colored stones.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

Columns, the Benedictine Cloister, Monreale

Some of the columns have beautifully carved ornaments with various motives.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

Photos of the cathedral in Monreale (Duomo)

Monreale Cathedral: Mosaics on the south wall. Noah and the dove.

Mosaics on the south wall: Cycle of the Old Testament.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale (Italy) - new on the list (2015)

Located on the northern coast of Sicily, Arab-Norman Palermo includes a series of nine civil and religious structures dating from the era of the Norman kingdom of Sicily (1130-1194): two palaces, three churches, a cathedral, a bridge, as well as the cathedrals of Cefalú and Monreale. Collectively, they are an example of a social-cultural syncretism between Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures on the island which gave rise to new concepts of space, structure and decoration. They also bear testimony to the fruitful coexistence of people of different origins and religions (Muslim, Byzantine, Latin, Jewish, Lombard and French).

Palermo

Norman Cathedrals