Cefalù – unique medieval town on the northern coast of Sicily

Cefalù with approx. 14,000 residents is located on the northern coast of Sicily, 70 km east of Palermo.

The old town, built under a high cliff, has preserved its original appearance over the centuries and attracts thousands of tourists every year.

History

The first mention of the city dates back to the year 396 BC. But it was founded by Greeks much earlier. At the time of the Roman Empire the city became one of the most prosperous centres in Sicily.

In 858 AD the city was not able to fight against raid of the Arabs, so they conquered the city and ruled the area for nearly 100 years.

Cefalu panorama photo
Photo by Pascal Guercio

Cefalu panorama, Sicily, Italy

Later in the 10th century there were Normans whose steps can be found all around the city.

Cefalu Sights

The main sight in town is undoubtedly the cathedral Duomo di Cefalù that can be found on Piazza del Duomo.

Its construction startet in 1131 by Ruggero II. and was completed 110 years later in 1240. The interior is relatively simple and has not changed a lot for 800 years.

Take a look at the wooden ceiling in the Romanesque-Norman architecture and mosaic decoration in the apse.

Seminarium Episcopale photo
Photo by Lee Rudd Photography

Seminarium Episcopale, Piazza Duomo, Cefalu, Sicily, Italy

You can also visit the museum Museo Mandralisca, which offers collections of Graeco-Roman excavation works of art of the late Middle Ages.

On a cliff above the town are the remains of a temple Tempio di Diana and Norman fortress La Rocca from the 11th century.

The cliff offers a beautiful view of the city but it is only accessible by foot, so be prepared for hard climbing to 700 meters hill!

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  1. Laura @Travelocafe

    Sicily is calling. Thanks for putting this place on the map for us. It looks amazing.

    1. Julius Szabo Listing Owner

      Sicily is my favorite place! It is said that Sicily has the same number of historical sights than the rest of Italy itself. + great weather and warm sea, that’s all I need for my holidays! 🙂