1. Capuchin Catacombs and Monreale Cathedral Private Tour
Explore the ghoulish remains of friars and luminaries at Palermo’s Capuchin Catacombs on a 3-hour sightseeing tour. Wander along dank corridors through a vast human library of mummified bodies. Inaugurated in 1599, when Capuchin monks discovered that their catacombs contained a mysterious preservative that could mummify the dead, the goal of the site is to reflect on the fragility of life and consider the pettiness of worldly goods. Some 8,000 bodies of men and women were ultimately buried in the catacombs, including the mummy of friar Silvestro of Gubbio, the first body to be buried in the catacombs. The corpses are divided into categories, such as friars, virgins, and professors, and often recognizable by their decaying clothing. As you walk through the corridors, you will see ghastly bodies that include the mummified corpse of the painter Velazquez. Emerge from the gruesome catacombs and travel to Monreale, 6 miles (10 kilometers) from Palermo. Here you will swap corpses for gold and marble as you visit the 12th-century Arab-Norman Cathedral, one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the world. End your tour at the Benedictine Cloister, completed at the turn of the 13th century. Wander around the beautiful garden, surrounded by delicate arches and white marble columns.