Cefalu is considered one of the best seaside towns in Palermo, and one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. There is much to do in this beautiful town, including taking in the gorgeous scenery. Actually, the town is most well known for the medieval monuments at the base of La Rocca.
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La Rocca is known for the medieval monuments at the base of its gigantic granite mass. Climbing to the top of La Rocca can be quite difficult, but the views are astounding, and worth the exertion. On your way to the top of the rock, there are two choices. You can head straight up to see the castle’s ruin, which is at the pinnacle, or you can head to the Temple of Diana, which is just a 20-minute trek. History says that this was once the site of the acropolis Cephaloedium, with a temple dedicated to Hercules on top. At the very top of La Rocca, you will see a number of medieval fortifications, and a former lookout tower which is, today, in ruins. The view from here includes the skyline of Palermo and the Aeolian Islands.
Cefalu Duomo is a Roman Catholic church in Cefalu that is also known as The Cathedral-Basilica of Cefalu. It was built in 1131, in the Norman style of architecture. This is a simple, but beautiful, cathedral that encourages visitors. The cathedral’s interior is quite lovely. It features a mosaic apse and modern glass windows. The prophets and saints can be found along the side walls and there is a Norman baptismal font. The Duomo also features furnishings that were copied from the Byzantine style that was favoured by Constantine. The mosaics are actually quite famous, and you will understand why when you see them. There are also a number of restaurants around this area, too, to complete your day’s sightseeing.
Cefalu Coast Beaches
The Cefalu coast beaches are another of the city’s treasures. The beaches are safe, clean and pristine; the waters are a pure, azure blue. Along the coastline, you will also find a number of bars and trattorias. They border the promenades all the way to Cefalu’s traditional town centre. The atmosphere is laid back, and the beaches tend to be less crowded as this is not your typical beach town. The sand is perfect for sunset walks, or sunrise strolls. The waters are perfect for swimming.
Santuario di Gibilmanna
Santuario di Gibilmanna, or the Sanctuary of Gibilmanna, is a Christian shrine found in Cefalu. This sanctuary is said to be one of the six Benedictine monasteries that were commissioned by Pope Gregory the Great. Many people make the pilgrimage to Cefalu just to pray at the Sanctuary of Gibilmanna, or more specifically, at this shrine to the Virgin Mary. The shrine’s coronation took place on August 17th, 1760 which is also noted as the official consecration of the sanctuary.
The sanctuary is constructed of many styles of architecture: The current building underwent modifications during the Baroque period, while the façade you will see today was actually done in 1907, after the original crumbled. Make sure to see the eleventh-century fresco, done in the Byzantine style, of the Virgin and Child. It is located in one of the sanctuary’s chapels.
The shrine has two confirmed miracles, restoring sight to two blind worshippers and restoring speech to a mute. These miracles were confirmed by the Vatican, which makes Santuario Gibilmanna one of the most important shrines in Sicily. Visitors are welcome to explore the shrine, and the museum located in the convent annexe. The museum is dedicated to works of the Capuchin brothers.
The Museo Mandralisca, or Museum of Mandralisca, is full of ancient works of art. This interdisciplinary museum features an art gallery, an archaeological collection, an impressive shell collection and a furniture collection that belonged to the Mandralisca family. The museum even includes a collection of money, one of the largest coin collections in the world.
The museum is actually the private collection of Mandralisca, a local nobleman. In fact, the museum is even in the old Mandralisca family palace. One of the most well-known pieces in the Museo Mandralisca is the Portrait of an Unknown man, done by Antonello da Messina, a Renaissance master. This is an interesting and eclectic museum to wander through. You will not be rushed, as the museum is typically not too crowded.