Things to Do in Cefalù
Though the giant, craggy La Rocca may dominate the Cefalù skyline, the Cefalù Cathedral (Duomo di Cefalù) competes for that attention. The Norman-style church was constructed starting in 1131, prompted — according to legend — by Roger II, who, during a shipwreck at sea, promised God that if he survived, that he’d construct a church right in this very place. Today’s cathedral is noted for its fortress-like exterior, and for its interior mosaics, particularly the lavish Christ Pantokrator mosaic.
The grand mosaic is complemented by a relatively humble interior, which makes the contrast all the more striking. Almost just as important as seeing the inside of the church is experiencing it from the outside from the palm tree-filled plaza. It’s the perfect place to grab pizza, coffee or an ice cream — you might pay a premium for it, but the splendid views and free cathedral-entry more than make up for it.
Mandralisca Museum (Museo Mandralisca) may not rank among Italy’s (or Sicily’s) largest cultural attractions, but visitors say it’s still worth making a stop. That’s because this small, privately owned destination is a Mecca for Greek ceramics, Arab pottery and some incredible Italian Renaissance portraits. The museum dates back nearly two centuries and houses the personal art collection of Barone Mandralisca, including an iconic portrait by Donatello da Messina.
Although the museum is full of rare wonders, travelers and locals say visitors should be prepared, as most of the museum’s signage is only in Italian. Still, the works alone make it well-worth the trip.