The Most Beautiful Churches in Sicily

Chiesa di of San Giuseppe Taormina
Chiesa di of San Giuseppe Taormina | ©Harvey Barrison:Flickr

Sicily has a long and complicated history. Ruled and influenced for centuries by Normans, Arabs, Spanish and Italians, there is a cultural and architectural richness there that is a lot even for Italy. A tour of some of the most beautiful churches and cathedrals on the island of Sicily is a good starting place to learn more about this fascinating destination.

Monreale Christus Pantokrator

Cathedral of Monreale

The town on Monreale is a short distance from the city of Palermo, and the cathedral there is one of Italy’s top tourist attractions. Built under the order of William II in the 13th century, it serves as one of the finest examples of Norman style architecture in Sicily. Inside, a Byzantine mosaic that cover the walls from almost the floor to the ceiling literally glitters like gold. There is a beautiful cloister with elaborately decorated columns. Look for the small door that for a small fee, you can climb the stairs to the roof above the cloisters for a view to remember.

Cathedral of St. Agatha, Catania

Cathedral of St. Agatha, Catania

The main cathedral in the city of Catania is dedicated to Saint Agnese. The structure is a remarkable example of the Baroque architecture that flourished after the deadly and destructive 16th century earthquake in the area. Originally built on top of a Roman era structure in the 11th century, there are also traces of Norman style buildings inside the church. See if you can spot the letters NOPAQVIE. They stand for the Latin phrase ‘Noli offendere Patriam Agathae quia ultrix iniuriarum est’, which warns against any injustice towards Agatha’s hometown Catania, invoking her wrath.

Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Termini Imerese

A few thousand years ago, the port city of Termini Imerese was a Greek spa resort with thermal baths. Today located in between Palermo and Cefalu, you will find layers of history including Greek, Roman and Norman. The cathedral, which is dedicated to Saint Nicholas, has a particularly beautiful altar. Richly decorated in a neoclassical style, it was created by sculptors Giuliano Mancino and Bartolomeo Berrettaro in the 1500s.

cefalu’s duomo

Cefalù Cathedral

This Norman style church complex dominates the town of Cefalù. It was built in the 1100s, when this part of Sicily was ruled by the Roger II, the King of Sicily. Legend says that the location of the cathedral is the spot where Roger II landed, after escaping a terrible storm at sea. A stylistic mix of Islamic and Christian cultures flourished inside, where you will find Byzantine style golden mosaics and painted ceilings. A very modern addition of more than 70 stained glass windows were added in 1985.

Madonna della Rocca

It is a 20 minute climb up Monte Tauro above Taormina to reach the small shrine carved into rock, known as the Madonna della Rocca. This sweet and intimate church is a marked contrast to the monumental decorated cathedrals that are much more well known. Outside of the church, there are impressive views and a small cafe where you can rest after your taxing walk.

Cappella Palatina in Palazzo dei Normanni Palermo

Palatine Chapel/Cappella Palatina

Inside the historic Palazzo Realm in the city of Palermo, the Palatine Chapel was built to serve as the royal chapel to the Norman Kings of Sicily in the 1100s. Impressive swaths of golden mosaics cover almost the entire chapel. primarily depicting Orthodox saints. Be sure to look up and admire the Islamic style vaulted ceiling, which is richly decorated with paintings of flora and fauna.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.