In the north of Sicily, at the foot of a rocky promontory, there is lovely town overlooking the sea. Its name is Cefalù.
Cefalù is one of the most popular tourist destination is Sicily, due to its beautiful beaches, the surrounding nature and its history.
Consider that it is located within the protected area of the Parco delle Madonie and its Cathedral is a Unesco heritage site since 2015.
The name “Cefalù” derives from the Greek ‘Kephaloidion’ which means ‘head’. The ancients gave this name to the city because the rock on which it stands resembles the shape of a head.
After the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs and the Normans ruled the town. However, the ruins of megalithic structures show that the area was already inhabited in very ancient times. Despite this long history, Cefalù is famous above all for its medieval monuments, including the Duomo and the castle.
Here are a few of the many lovely places and monuments to visit in Cefalù.
The Cathedral is the symbol of the town.
A legend says that the Norman king Roger II ordered to build the cathedral as a vow after escaping a deadly storm.
The cathedral mixes different styles; from the Arabic to the Byzantine one, from the Latin to the Northern European one.
Its main feature is the facade with the two different towers. One has a square plan and flame-shaped merlons symbolizing papal authority, the other has an octagonal plan and Ghibelline merlons symbolizing temporal power.
Next to the Cathedral of Cefalù is the suggestive cloister.
The historic center of Cefalù is surrounded by a megalithic wall that dates back to the 5th century BC. Despite the centuries, the walls are still largely well preserved.
In ancient time the walls had 4 access doors. Today only one remains, Porta Marina, which is particularly famous because it offers a suggestive view of the sea.
Then, the Temple of Diana is a sanctuary located in a megalithic building that houses a cistern built in the 9th century BC.
While strolling through Cefalù, it is worth exploring the old seaside village, with its ancient houses, and the Marchiafava Bastion from which, on clear days, it is possible to see the Aeolian Islands and part of the Sicilian coast.
In Cefalù there are many beaches, all very beautiful. Here we introduce you our 4 favorites.
Lido di Cefalù is a golden sandy beach perfect for families with children. The seabed drops gently, the water is clear, it is located a few minutes from the town center and there are many services for visitors.
Caldura beach is totally different from Lido; there is no sand but gravel, the seabed immediately becomes deep and there are many rocks. However, it is close to the town.
The beach of S.Ambrogio is not so close to the town and is stony. It is less known, less crowded and entirely free.
Pollina beach is always very crowded but it is perfect for those who love fun since parties and bonfires are very frequent.
From Cefalù it is possible to reach several other nice destinations in Sicily. A few examples? The Gulf of Castellammare, the island of Favignana, or the beach of San Vito lo Capo, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Italy.
In a few hours by ferry it is then possible to reach the Aeolian Islands, an archipelago that includes Stromboli and Vulcano, two still active volcanoes.