Hotels in Cefalù
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Cefalù75 km east of Palermo and right in the middle of the northern coast, Cefalù (14,000 inhabitants) is a charming seaside town built on the site of an ancient Sicanian and Greek settlement, beneath the steep mountain Rupe. Nestled between this almost 300m high rock and the coast, the medieval houses and winding narrow streets, dominated by the mighty cathedral that makes them seem toys, hardly changed over centuries.
A picturesque old fishing harbour, delightful restaurants overlooking a rocky coast and the long sandy beach add to the attractions of this seaside resort, which due to its increasing importance is sometimes called “Taormina of the North”.
The construction of the cathedral, one of the greatest churches of southern Europe and masterpiece of the Arab-Norman era, began in 1131 during the Norman reign of Roger (Ruggero) II. The cathedral features a large icon of Christ in the apse as well as magnificent Byzantine gold mosaics. Cefalù's mountain boasts the ruins of a large Norman fortress and of the ancient Sicanian-Greek “Temple of Diana” - except for an Arab washhouse in the centre the only remains of ancient settlements. The summit with its breath-taking view of the town, cathedral, mountains and the sea with the Aeolian Islands, is well worth the climb, and by night the illuminated mountain and cathedral offer a spectacular panorama, reminding you of Cefalù’s medieval splendour.
Only 15km towards the countryside in the south, the pilgrimage church “Santuario di Gibilmanna” is situated on approx. 1,000m, the lower mountain range of the “Parco delle Madonie”, a nature reserve covering approx. 40,000 hectares of almond, olive and chestnut trees, oaks and beeches - home for wildcats and eagles. Further to the south the peaks reach up to 2,000m, ideal for skiing. Point of departure for winter sports activities as well as for trekking tours of all levels is the mountain village Isnello, dominated by a medieval castle. Main town of the Madonie is picturesque Petralia Sottana, perched on a crest of 1,000m and offering excellent views.