On my recent trip to Italy, my bus driver was from Cefalu in Sicily. I spent alot of time talking to him about how this delightful town located about 55 minutes east of Palermo exceeded my expectations. The Palermo-Messina trains stop in this charming town.
Cefalu is a charming sea-side resort town nestled between the mountains and the glistening cobalt water of the sea. It is a short train ride from Palermo on the northern Tyrrhenian coast with outstanding beaches and a beautiful Norman cathedral with splendid mosaics.
Walk along the sea wall to La Calura and admire the ancient rocks named Tallarita, Baranello and Passarello. The Italians love to name the rock formations. The Temple of Diana is visible atop the mountains overlooking Cefalu.
The magnificent twin-towers and the Norman Cathedral were built in 1131 by Roger II following his shipwreck along the coastline of Cefalu. The structural and architectural trappings of the cathedral are similar to Monreale. It is adorned with lancet windows.
The 20th century stained glass replacement windows are covered with abstract designs created by Michelle Canzoneri. The Duomo has spectacular mosaics and houses a magnificent Christ as Pantocrator. In the square, enjoy some delightful marzapan treats with your coffee.
Some of the fun tourist attractions in and around Cefalu include:
1. The Public Lavatoio that is located in the center of town; precursor to the public Laundromat.
2. Drive up to the top of the mountain and visit the sanctuary of St. Gibilmanna in Pizzo San Angelo. This was the first church dedicated to the Madonna in Sicily. The monastery belongs to Cappuchin Friars. The sanctuary is located 2600 feet above sea level with a panoramic view of the majestic mountains.
After visiting the local attractions, dine at LoScoglio Ubriaco overlooking the water. Plan your next day perched on a beach chair that you can rent at Beach Café del Moto. Think about taking a day trip from Cefalu to Sicily’s other exotic locations like Taormina or the Aeolian islands.
For a great Vino con Vista visit Filippino on Piazza Municipio. E Pulera on via Isabella Conti Vainicher and the Kasbah Café on via Maurolico 25 offer outstanding food with pleasant outdoor seating. Purchase some local wine and cheese at Enoteca Le Petit Tonneau after you stroll along the water front and appreciate the natural beauty that this charming town exudes. In August, the town has an annual festival called Madonna della Luce which includes an evening boat procession along the coastline.
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy.
To learn more about Sicily visit www.vino-con-vista.com