To break up the churches a bit here's something... church-adjacent (literally and figuratively). The cloisters of the cathedral of Monreale date back to 1200, originally part of a Benedictine abbey attached to the cathedral. They are made up of 108 pairs of columns, with alternate pairs covered in beautiful mosaics and each column boasting a carved capital, many of which show Biblical and other scenes.
You need to pay separately to go in to the cloisters (I thought it was included with the roof ticket, which it's not), but the extra 6€ or so is well worth it. The Arab influence can be clearly felt, with the central garden complete with palm trees and corner fountain/cistern.
|The cloister as seen from the cathedral roof|
|The Monreale cathedral seen from the cloisters|
|The bright sun made it hard to photograph at times|
|One of the elaborately-carved capitals|
|Not sure, but looks like this could be Cain and Abel on the left|
Animal carvings on the columns
|The corner fountain|