Cefalu is situated roughly in the centre of the northern coast of Sicily and is one of the most attractive and atmospheric places we've visited so far along this part of the coastline. The town was originally a defensive settlement built on the huge rock that looms over the town known as 'La Rocca' until the Normans came along to re-establish the town to the foot of the rock as well as construct a magnificent cathedral that towers above both the tiny harbour and town.
It's possible to anchor on the eastern or western side of Cefalu or take a berth in the marina. Having motored all of six miles across the bay we decided to anchor on the eastern side, just off a rocky outcrop overlooked by a crumbling watch tower. With the forecast we felt it was the better side to anchor and the surrounding more natural than the western side.
dating back to the 16th century, 'Torre Caldura' is in desperate need of some TLC as it is an integral part of landscape and our view from aboard Flirtie
it's not a pool... it's crystal clear sea
We could get ashore by leaving the dinghy on the small beach near the marina. Access to the town was a short 20 minute coastal walk passing the lighthouse enroute.
a pleasant walk to town with a coastal view
If we'd anchored on the western side, 'old town' we could have left the dinghy along the town quay with immediate access to the beach and town centre.
fishermens houses and beach front
Cefalu old town video - from aboard Flirtie
The cathedral was massive and imposing with twin towers that are visible from several miles offshore. The interior lined with tall arches lead the way to a magnificent Byzantine-style mosaics all made from tiny tiles and in exceptional condition.
Walking along narrow cobbled alleys lined with multi story fishermens houses and seeing rows of washing stretched between balconies offered ample shade below which was welcomed as we are starting to struggle with the heat.
walking an alley
On our meandering we came across a medieval public wash house at the bottom of a curving staircase made of lava and stone. The structure was built over the nearby river (allegedly formed by the tears of a mourning nymph!) to provide a fast flowing icy stream of water through 15 cast iron shaped lion heads and into numerous rectangular stone tanks and pools before leaving through tunnels that flow back into the sea. It was used by the locals well into the 20th century.
stone boards and washing positions for six... the gossip must have been rife!
Total distance this season: 363.19 nautical miles