All the cathedrals across Europe were built in the space of about 200 years, at the height of the crusades. They look expensive, but they were actually money machines. Whilst there may have been an element of religious fervour to them, they were also a way of demonstrating power to potential enemies and the illiterate … More Cathedral Building… or was it Economy Building?
Palermo Cathedral was erected in 1185 by Walter Ophamil (or Walter of the Mill), the Anglo-Norman archbishop of Palermo and the Norman King William II’s minister. One of his close relatives had Monreale cathedral built during an overlapping time period, and they were therefore regarded as competing with each other for glory. The Normans had … More Palermo Cathedral
The Sicilians adore Pope Francis. This is not just because he once worked as a nightclub bouncer and is way more down-to-earth than any other pontiff in living memory. He is the first pope ever to condemn the Mafia, repeatedly and unequivocally. He rejects the pomp and wealth of the traditional church and genuinely helps … More Dolce and Gabbana pay tribute to Pope Francis?
Just outside Palermo, in the charming little town of Monreale, lies possibly the most beautiful – and certainly the most exotic – cathedral in Europe. Monreale Cathedral was built by King William II of Sicily in 1174. The architecture is Moorish Arabic, the interior is late Byzantine, and the layout is a fusion of Catholic … More The Arabic Cathedral of Monreale