About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Monday, April 11, 2011

M is for MONREALE










"Monreale is the swan-song of the art of the Norman Age." So begins my book about the Cathedral of Monreale near Palermo, Sicily. It was one of the last places I visited in 2006 during my month-long stay in this most marvelous country. Monreale was the brainchild of William II (1153 - 1189), the last of the great Norman Kings of Sicily. Apparently, one day while hunting in his park, the King fell asleep and was visited in his dreams by a lady (the Madonna). She indicated to him the place where his father's treasure was hidden and later, the King did unearth it. In gratitude, he decided to erect a temple dedicated to the Virgin Mary on Monte Reale. However, King William died before seeing the cathedral completed. In 1267, a century after the commencement of work, the church was solemnly consecrated by an envoy of Pope Clement IV. The interior of the cathedral is a masterpiece of late Romanesque architecture and consists of three aisles terminating in a transept and three apses. An immense mosaic tapestry covers the greater part of the walls. There are 18 antique granite columns and one in cipolin marble. The marble tombs of William I and William II are situated in the right wing of the transept.
While visiting Monreale, I sat transfixed in the main chapel. Everywhere you look - up, down, left, right, straight ahead and behind - you will see the most magnificent architecture and artwork! Mosaics, sculptures, bronze leafs, tapestries, arches with decorative motifs. We stayed more than half day, wandering both inside and outside along the cloisters. There are several portals and smaller cathedrals inside the main structure and we were awed by the majesty of the art. The artwork describes the story of the Christian Bible from creation to the miracles of Jesus Christ. There is literally far too much to describe in this little post, but trust me in saying that it is definitely a major must-see if you are ever in Sicily! Below is a confessional, a statue of King William offering the cathedral to the Virgin Mary, and a photo of the main chapel.





















28 comments:

nancygrayce said...

You have traveled the world! I have only been out of the U.S. into Mexico.

Roger Owen Green said...

now THAT is a cathedral!
impressive tale.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Sylvia K said...

Oh, I agree with Roger! That is indeed a great and very impressive cathedral and fascinating history! Terrific post for the M Day, Leslie! Have a wonderful day!

Sylvia
ABC Team

Rajesh said...

Interesting history and beautiful images.

jabblog said...

It is a magnificent building - just to sit quietly inside it must be very calming.

photowannabe said...

What a magnificent cathedral Leslie. Great photos and a perfect choice for the letter M.

Meryl said...

I love those walls! Beautiful cathedral.

Paula Scott said...

Wow. I mean, wow!
Very impressive cathedral indeed. Breathtaking.

Carver said...

What a wonderful place to visit and such great stories. I enjoyed your M post very MUCH!

Beverley Baird said...

What an absolutely gorgeous cathedral! You could spend days there I am sure! Great post!

Tumblewords: said...

Wonderful photos and perfect memories. A marvelous post!

Hildred and Charles said...

Thank you for sharing such great beauty, Leslie.

Rinkly Rimes said...

I love the main shot of the interior which shows the murals so well. What a peaceful place.

Ann said...

I always wonder where they got the money in the old times to build these magnificent buildings.

Ann said...

Last week, I came to your book blog. Have you finished the book?

Mar said...

Beautiful and fascinating post for M.
What a cathedral!

ABC Wed: M

Greyscale Territory said...

This catedral must have been so inspiring to experience! What an atmosphere laden with style, grandeur and history! Stunning photos!

Wanda said...

Oh my, what wonderfully magnificent photos. Love traveling around with you. You are a great tour guide.

mrsnesbitt said...

Wow Leslie - some building! A great idea for ABC Wednesday - I am enjoying your travels.

Denise x

☆♥Shydub♥☆ said...

You have interesting pictures and post today. thanks for sharing

Liz said...

I am always stunned by the task that faced the masons, builders and craftsmen of early decades and the way they succeeded so amazingly with their creations. This is a wonderful example.

chubskulit said...

Nice pick for letter M! Beautiful captures too!

My Letter M, hope you can come and see. Have a great Wednesday!

Ms. Burrito said...

Beautiful M entry!

Will you lease come and see my Letter M? Thank you!

Shrinky said...

Wow, the places you have been! Thanks for taking us along (smile).

magiceye said...

fascinating!

Cezar and Léia said...

A great reportage in this post, very well elaborated, congratulations, and I love the last picture!
Léia

Bluebell Books said...

lovely reminder ..
It is always good to open one's mind and learn something new.

Jingle said...

enjoyed your M take.
smiles.