Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 23, 2016

Cheerful Cefalu

Cefalu is a pretty coastal town in northern Sicily, just 70 kilometres from Palermo. It has a sandy beach, making a very popular holiday destination. There was a howling wind the day we arrived in spring, keeping most people off the beach.


The wind whipped up the sea.



A few hearty souls braved the water.


The area has always been known for fishing and the activity continues today. A windy day is a good time to repair nets.


Like most of Sicily, Cefalu has a rich history. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans all made Cefalu their home at some stage. The most obvious reminder of the Norman time is the magnificent cathedral. It was begun in 1131 and took over 100 years to complete.




Its interior boasts stunning mosaics including Christ Pantocrator in gleaming gold.


There is a beautiful cloister beside the church.



The statues in front of the church are looking a bit worn.


There are other churches hidden among the narrow streets. Cefalu is a treasure trove of wonderful old buildings.


The streets are also lined with interesting shops, cafes and restaurants…you won’t go hungry in Cefalu.


We had a delicious dinner at Locanda del Marinaio. There was a stylish outdoor eating area, but the cool air drove us inside.


Looming over the town is La Rocca, a rocky outcrop where the ruins of the Norman Castle and the Temple of Diana remain.  The ruin is visible above the old hotel.


We didn’t have time to climb the Salita Saraceno to the top…next time.

Scenes from my favourite Italian film, Cinema Paradiso, were filmed in Cefalu. I will watch it again to see if I recognise the streets.

Cefalu is a jumping off point for the Aeolian Islands, another reason to return. It is a lively, friendly and interesting town. I hope the wind stays away when you visit.




  1. Cefalu seems to have everything – ancient ruins, beautiful cathedral, beach, lovely shopping streets and delicious food, no wonder it was chosen for a film location. I loved Cinema Paradiso too – and the music.

    • Cefalu is a beautiful place, we will return.

  2. Quaint town. I remember the waves crashing into the restaurant windows on a January visit. Beautiful cathedral – love the gold mosaics.

    • It might be a bit bleak in mid winter, but lovely just the same.

  3. Great memories Debra! We enjoyed a lovely day at Cefalu on our trip to Sicily – compete with a swim on a glorious hot sunny day!

    • Lucky you. The wind would have blown us away.

  4. That’s about the only kind of day my husband likes the beach – when everyone else finds it too cold. What a beautiful place!

    • He would have been blown to the mainland the day we were there.

  5. It is a beautiful place and the Norman cathedral is a real gem.

    • The cathedral is stunning, like so many in Sicily.

  6. […] via Cheerful Cefalu — Bagni di Lucca and Beyond […]

  7. I loved that movie too!

    • When I saw it the first time it reminded me of the little village I used to live in. I have watched it several times since and I always delights me.

  8. Quaint town. Reminds me of monreale sans the beach!

    • The fierce wind blew us out of Monreale and into Cefalu.

  9. […] Cefalu on the northern coast was another place in Sicily we really liked even though a fierce wind kept us off the beach and any other exposed place. Fortunately the narrow streets offered protection. […]

  10. […] чрез Радостен Чефалу – Бани ди Лука и Отвъд […]

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