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  • Duomo (Cefalù): The first Norman cathedral in western Sicily, it was built by Roger II and initially intended as his final resting place. Its imposing size dominates the landscape of the town, while the interior is embellished with the first in a series of brilliant mosaics found in this part of Sicily.
  • Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio (aka La Martorana; Palermo): One of the best expressions of Arabo-Norman architecture, this 12th-century Orthodox church was considerably altered during the baroque heyday but, miraculously, the splendid mosaics were spared. It was at this convent that the marzipan fruits known as frutta Martorana were created. It also houses the only known portrait of Roger II.
  • San Giovanni degli Eremiti (St. John of the Hermits) (Palermo; Via dei Benedettini 18, no phone.): This is the epitome of Arabo-Norman architecture in the city. Capped by five red domes, it would seem like a mosque when seen from afar. It is set amid a splendid garden of palm and fragrant citrus trees.
  • Monreale Duomo (Monreale): This is the most spectacular of all Arabo-Norman churches, and also the last. Commissioned by William II in 1174 after a dream, with its 6,400 sq m (21, 000 sq ft.) of mosaics, it is truly one of the best churches in Italy.
  • Oratorio del Rosario di San Domenico (Palermo; tel. 091-332779): The Oratory was founded in the closing years of the 16th century by the Society of the Holy Rosary. One of the Society's most outstanding members, Giacomo Serpotta, decorated this oratory with his delightfully expressive putti (cherubs).
  • Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Cita (Palermo): Giacomo Serpotta took 32 years to complete this Rococo masterpiece festooned with puttis and biblical scenes and inlaid with marble and mother of pearl; the most amazing piece among the sculptures is the Battle of Lepanto. The oratory was miraculously spared damage during the Allied bombings of 1943.
  • Oratorio di San Lorenzo (Palermo; tel. 091-582370): Of extraordinary elegance, the interior's stucco decoration is the masterpiece of Giacomo Serpotta. Art historians have written of these wall paintings as "a cave of white coral."

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.