Cefalù – a little town you can not miss in western Sicily

Cefalù – a little town you can not miss in western Sicily

Cefalù, at 72 Km from Palermo, built under a rocky crag and with a picturesque center offers a variety of attractions. From the cathedral, built by the Norman king Roger II in 1131 and part of the Unesco World Heritage site, to the beautiful beach right in the center of the little town and the medieval cloyster to name a few.

As written in the “Lonely Planet” guide, : “the town is perfectly suited to slow pedestrian exploration. The little port is lined with fishing boats and populated with fisherfolks ….the ‘lungomare (seafront promenade )is popular for the ‘passeggiata’ ( evening stroll ) as is the main street, Corso Ruggero.


I personally find Cefalù really enjoyable, easy to reach from our house ( 57 Km and about 45 minutes by car ) , full of little shops and restaurants ( try some of them that are not too touristic !). I wouldn’t miss sitting at a table in piazza Duomo, just in front of the church, to have a Sicilian dessert or an “aperitivo” ; and what about having lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants with a sea terrace ? Go during the week if you prefer a quiet visit or viceversa on the weekend if you like to see a lot of life.

Unesco sites in Sicily – we begin with the last one

Cappella PalatinaThere are seven Unesco sites in Sicily which is not bad for an Island of 25.712 square Km. The last site to be inscribed on the list in 2015 is the “Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale” . We are not speaking of a single monument but of churches, palaces and cloysters built in the 11th and 12th century situated in nine locations in Palermo, Cefalù and Monreale.

It’s interesting to read some of the reasons that brought the Unesco to this choice: “The whole of the buildings that constitute the property of ‘Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale’ represents a material example of coexistence, interaction and interchange between different cultural components of heterogeneous historical and geographical origin” . In other words the originality of these monuments is this mix of styles and cultures present in Sicily at that time; Byzantine ( you will see this influence in the mosaics ), Islamic, Latin elements at the time of the Norman kings.

Palermo, that hosts the majority of these monuments can be the ideal starting point for this visit; Monreale which is a “must” for its mosaics is at few kilomethers from the town, while Cefalù is at less than 45 minutes by car but it’s worth an entire day being a beautiful and pictoresque village by the sea  .

In the bigger  photo the Palatine Chapel, the little church inside the Royal palace with its bizantine mosaics; on the top the Cathedral of Palermo and the Churches of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio and San Cataldo.