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I Borghi più belli d'Italia - Sicily, Cefalù
Lightbox (15) Tags: architecture borghi-piu-belli-ditalia europe history italy sicily Posted: Dec. 12, 2011 by Vassilik
Location of "The most beautiful villages in Italy" in Sicily
From left to right (Click on map markers for details): Cefalù, Geraci Siculo, San Marco d'Alunzio, Brolo, Montelbano Elicona, Novara di Sicilia, Savoca, Castelmola
View on Cefalù from the mountain above the town (Sicily, Italy). Media credit: Mishkabear, License details
Date licensed: Dec. 6, 2011
Cefalù, Sicilia (Sicily, Italy). Media credit: eduardomineo, License details
Date licensed: Dec. 6, 2011
Cefalù is one of those "Borghi più belli d'Italia" which in my view do not fit 100% all the criteria for including it into the club. Indeed, even if it is small as a town (about 14 thousand inhabitants), it is several times larger than any other Club's village in Sicily. Secondly, Cefalù is a very popular tourist destination - in fact, it is one of the best seaside resorts in the province of Palermo where the village is located. It attracts crowds of tourists not only from every part of Sicily but also from Italy and Europe.
Cefalù has a rich history with origins that can be traced to the 5th century BC (pre-Hellenic settlement). The modern name of the town has similarities with its first known name of Kefaloidion given to it during the Hellenic period (beginning from 4th century BC) from the Greek kefalé or Cephas, or "head hat", referring probably to the shape of the rock hanging over the town. In 307 BC, Cefalù was captured by the Syracusans, in 254 BC and by the Romans (who gave it the Latin name of Cephaloedium). The original town was built on the plain on the top of the mountain and was moved during Byzantine period to its current location on the coast. In 858, Cefalù was conquered by the Arabs, and in 1063 by the Normans. The subsequent history of Cefalù is somewhat similar to that of Sicily and the rest of Italy with the involvement in numerous feudal disputes. After the landing of Giuseppe Garibaldi in January 1861, the town proclaimed its adherence to the Kingdom of Italy.
The historic center of Cefalu has a medieval character with narrow streets, paved with beach pebbles and limestone from the rock. The town has a rich cultural and historic heritage. Il Duomo di Cefalù (Cathedral Basilica) is probably the most important architectural monuments dated to 1131 (the times of kingdom of Ruggero II of Sicily). The design of the cathedral has features that could have defense role. There are other churches in the town (about 15) as well as several well-know civil structures including recently restored municipal theater.
Important celebrations include: