Cefalù – a medieval town at the northern coast of Sicily
Cefalù is a historic town situated at the northern coast of Sicily, 50 km east of the Sicilian capital city of Palermo. There are not any modern hotels or new buildings, so Cefalù to this day retains its scenic beauty and medieval atmosphere.
Above the town rises an interesting cliff La Rocca resembling a fortress, where was once the temple of Diana. The coast is lined with some beautiful sandy beaches.
In the centre of this compact city you can find the main square, Piazza del Duomo, with several restaurants and cafes, perfect for relaxing in the shade of palm trees. The town is dominated by the cathedral from 1131, which should originally serve as a royal tomb and the main temple of the Kingdom of Sicily.
The cathedral was built on the initiative of the Norman king of Sicily – Ruggero II. He, in these places, survived the sinking of his ship, and therefore built this church as a thanksgiving to the Virgin Mary for his rescue. Its frontispiece is lined by two towers and between them is the main portal Porta dei Re – Royal Gate.
The Cathedral has now amber facade and its interior has one of the most beautiful images of Christ in Western art. The famous mosaic from 1148 is the oldest depiction of Christ blessing the Almighty on the island and is located in the apse.
Beautiful wooden ceiling and Arab benches remained almost unchanged for 800 years. The cathedral is a typical example of a combined Norman-Sicilian Romanesque style.
Not far from the cathedral you can find Museo Mandralisca that conserve collections of coins, vases, pottery and Roman and Greek artifacts. You will also find painting “Portrait of an unknown man” which was painted in 1472 by a significant Sicilian Renaissance artist Antonello da Messina.
The town boasts a huge network of narrow medieval streets, where almost at every turn you encounter a wine or souvenir shop. Cefalù is a great place for a day trip but also a starting point for making interesting trips around. There are many natural attractions, as well as other historically valuable cities in its vicinity.
The most popular attractions of the town include swimming in the beach located right in the town centre or tasting a wine in one of numerous wine shops.