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Perché Cefalù...

On the northern coast, 75 kilometers east of Palermo, from which it is about forty-five minutes by car, a bit longer on an express train, Cefalù (with the accent on the last syllable) is a medieval town built on the site of an ancient Sicanian and Greek settlement. In fact, its name derives from the Greek word for a cape; the ancient city was called Kephaloidion                                           .

The map of the town changed during the Norman period, so to-day it's difficult to imagine how the town was during the Arab domination. Several medieval buildings still stand in the city itself. These include the Lavatoio (lavandai), a medieval wash house fed by freshwater springs, and the Osterio Magna (Great Guesthouse), where King Roger stayed during his visits to Cefalù. Of course, the cathedral is the most important monument. Its history is obscured by a legend. Roger II, returning to Sicily from one of his Italian wars, was caught in a tempest and, in danger of his life, made a vow that if he were rescued from the waves, he would build a cathedral to the Savior and the Apostles Peter and Paul at the spot were he reached land.

Begun in 1131 during the reign of Roger II, the cathedral with two enormous towers, seems to be a fortress rather than a true church. It had to give rise to fear and respect, astonishment and wonder. And also to-day, astonishment and wonder are the feelings of the several tourists than every year visit this charming corner of the northern coast of Sicily. For the stout hearted, the summit, with its magnificent view of the town, cathedral, mountains and sea, is well worth the climb.

Viewed from the coast to the east, the mountain and cathedral make for an inspiring site, evoking much of the city's medieval grandeur. This wonderful landscape becomes incomparable in the evening, when the lights mark the beginning of charming and romantic nights. Lots of typical restaurant in the town centre and near the shore offer sea food and other local specialities, while in the pizzerias and pubs the youngest are planning to live the magic night of this Mediterranean pearl…










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