Cefalù with its 16.000 inhabitants is located at the North Coast of Sicily at the Rocca di Cefalù. The mountain has given Cefalù its name. Already in the fourth centrury BC the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus called the town Kephaloidion. During the Roman period it was called Cephaloedium. Both names refer to the form of the mountain that reminds of a “head”.
Take a walk up the mountainside and enjoy the magnificent views from the height of 270 meters. Follow the trails of history and visit the ruins of a Norman castle, the Diana temple built in the 5th century and an Arabian cistern. Enjoy the breathtaking 360° view of Cefalù, its harbor and beautiful surroundings!
At the foot of the Rocca you’ll find the most famous symbol of Cefalù – the cathedral ilDuomo, which is an UNESCO World Heritage since 2015. Built in 858 AD by the Arabs and conquered in 1063 AD by the Normans Cefalù was given this jewel in Sicily’s Arab-Norman crown by Roger II. Legends tells that the cathedral was built to fulfil his vow to God after his fleet was saved during a violent storm off Cefalù.
If you take the street Via Mandralisca starting at Piazza del Duomo you’ll reach the Museo Mandralisca with ist collection of Greek, Roman and Arabic ceramics and coins as well as paintings of Italian and Flemish artists of the 15th and 18th centuries. It is based upon a private collection of Enrico Piraino, Baron of Mandralisca, who donated it to Cefalù in the 19th century. The most famous piece of art is certainly the Portrait of an Unknown Man by Antonello da Messina whose smile is often compared with that of Mona Lisa’s. It’s considered one of the most distinctive portraits of the Italian Renaissance.
Close to the old port of Cefalù in Via Vittorio Emanuele there is the pittoresque Lavatoio medievale – a public wash basin of 16th century that has been used by the inhabitants until the 20th century. It was built over a spring that was already well known in antiquity.
Enjoy Cefalù’s sights and the postcard-prettiness of the medieval town with its small streets, squares and churches! Take a walk along the sandy beach of Cefalù or the 1.8 kilometers long seafront promenade! And should you have time, discover the nature park Madonie close by or visit one of the many worthwhile sights nearby!