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  • Writer's pictureThe Sicilian Wanderer

Cefalù: exploring the Norman Cathedral and the ancient history of the city.


Today, we are in Cefalù, a city located on the northwestern coast of Sicily, renowned for its beauty and ancient history.

Cefalù was founded by the Greeks in the 5th century BC. Over the centuries, it has been ruled by various civilizations, including the Romans, Arabs, and Normans, whose influence can still be seen in the city's architecture and culture.

For history and culture enthusiasts, Cefalù is a perfect destination. One of the main attractions is the Cefalù Cathedral, an imposing church that stands as a magnificent example of Norman architecture, unique in its kind. Its construction dates back to the 12th century, during the Norman period, and was commissioned by Roger II, one of Sicily's most significant rulers.

The Cathedral's facade is dominated by a large bronze portal, topped by a lunette adorned with mosaics and sculptures depicting biblical stories. The church's interior is Latin cross-shaped, with three naves and a transept, all covered by cross vaults and a dome.

However, the most spectacular element of the Cefalù Cathedral is undoubtedly the golden mosaic that covers the church's apse. This 12th-century mosaic depicts Christ Pantocrator, or the reigning Christ, surrounded by angelic figures and apostles. The mosaic is one of the largest and most beautiful in Europe and is considered one of the most important works of medieval Sicilian art.

Additionally, the Cathedral houses many other valuable artworks, including the 12th-century marble baptismal font, the carved wooden bishop's chair, and the statue of St. George, Cefalù's protector.

Beyond the Cathedral, there's much more to see in Cefalù. For instance, you can visit the Mandralisca Museum, which houses a vast collection of art and archaeological objects, including the famous Portrait of an Unknown Man by Antonello da Messina. You can also take a stroll along the Giuseppe Giardina Promenade, a long coastal road offering spectacular views of the sea and the city.

If you're looking for outdoor activities, you can take a boat trip to explore Cefalù's coast, walk in the Rocche del Crasto Nature Reserve, or swim in the crystal-clear waters of Cefalù Beach. Rocche del Crasto o fare una nuotata nelle acque cristalline della Spiaggia di Cefalù.


Near Cefalù, there are many interesting places to visit. Here are some examples:

Castelbuono - A charming medieval village located about 20 kilometers from Cefalù, famous for its Ventimiglia Castle and the production of typical sweets like "fiasconaro".

Parco delle Madonie - A protected natural area that stretches for about 40 kilometers east of Cefalù, with a varied and evocative landscape, including mountains, forests, rivers, and waterfalls.

Tindari - An ancient Greek city located on the northeastern coast of Sicily, about 80 kilometers from Cefalù, known for its ancient theater, the sanctuary of the Black Madonna, and the breathtaking view of the Aeolian Islands.

Sant'Ambrogio - A picturesque fishing village located about 6 kilometers from Cefalù, with a beautiful beach, crystal clear sea, and numerous restaurants where you can taste fresh fish dishes.

Palermo - The capital of Sicily, located about 70 kilometers from Cefalù, with a rich millennia-old history and an extraordinary artistic and cultural heritage, including the Cathedral, the Norman Palace, the Teatro Massimo, and the Ballarò Market.

These are just a few examples of interesting places to visit near Cefalù, but there are many others to discover!

Here are some dining recommendations:

Ristorante La Brace - Via Lungomare G. Giardina, 7, 90015 Cefalù PA, Italy - +39 0921 421258

Osteria Bacchus - Via Carlo Ortolani di Bordonaro, 29, 90015 Cefalù PA, Italy - +39 0921 921118

Osteria Magno - Via Veterani, 4, 90015 Cefalù PA, Italy - +39 0921 422035

La Tavernetta - Corso Ruggero, 147, 90015 Cefalù PA, Italy - +39 0921 921478

Al Vicoletto - Via Vittorio Emanuele, 55, 90015 Cefalù PA, Italy - +39 0921 924425

Ristorante Le Chat Noir - Corso Ruggero, 16, 90015 Cefalù PA, Italy - +39 0921 921587

Ristorante La Corte del Sole - Contrada Sant'Andrea, SNC, 90015 Cefalù PA, Italy - +39 0921 922245

Ristorante La Lampara - Via Lungomare G. Giardina, 27, 90015 Cefalù PA, Italy - +39 0921 421907

Ristorante Pizzeria La Brace Mare - Via Lungomare G. Giardina, 5, 90015 Cefalù PA, Italy - +39 0921 423657

Ristorante Lo Scoglio Ubriaco - Via Luigi Pirandello, 46, 90015 Cefalù PA, Italy - +39 0921 421393.


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