All those who came, saw, and conquered in Palermo left their mark on this cathedral, an architectural pastiche that is somewhere between exquisite and eyesore. It is, however, noble enough as befits the final resting place of Roger II, the first king of Sicily, who died in 1154, and other Norman–Swabian royalty. Neapolitan architect Ferdinando Fuga began a restoration in 1771 that gave the exterior and the interior an all-encompassing neoclassical style, adding a cupola that sticks out like a sore thumb on the original Norman design. With a little attention you can pick out some of the original elements: the middle portal from the 15th century; four impressive campaniles (bell towers) from the 14th century; and the south and north porticos from the 15th and 16th centuries. Take note of the column on the left of the south portico: It was recycled from a mosque and is inscribed with a verse from the Koran.
- Frommer's Staff