The city of Monreale, in the province of Palermo, was founded by the Normans in the very distant 12th century. It is said that the place was used by those who went there to rest from war and the government of Sicily.
King William the Good, in 1171, dreamt of the place where his father’s spoils lay on the advice of the Virgin Mary. he was to erect and dedicate a church to her. So he did.
Abbot Theobald and a hundred monks moved to Monreale to officiate in the new temple.
In 1182, Lucius III, at the request of King William, elevated the church to “Metropolitan Cathedral”.
The still incomplete cathedral was already the talk of the town, even Pope Alexander III expressed his joy at the solemnity of the monument.
Monreale was the capital of the State of the same name: yes because a State within the State was established.
Jurisdictional power was granted to the Archbishop by King William and constituted a unique privilege in the judicial panorama of the Kingdom.
This lasted until 1812 when feudality was abolished.
The criminal court was presided over by a clergyman, assisted by a notary and/or criminal judge.
There was also a lay administration in Monreale, which was entrusted to the class of gentlemen. They held the main town offices.
Monuments and places of interest
The town obviously still has a countless number of interesting sights, such as the Royal Palace, which was the seat of the Norman rulers and now houses the town hall and seminary. Palazzo Cutò, the Monumental Cemetery (1877) in neo-Gothic style by Giovan Battista Filippo Basile. Villa del Belvedere, the Monumental Fountains and, of course, the inevitable Cathedral.