05 May Cefalù, Palermo
Alongside Taormina, Cefalù is famed for being the most popular tourist attraction in Sicily. Its seafront promenade is fringed by one of Sicily’s most beautiful sandy beaches on one side, and a wide choice of restaurants, bars and hotels on the other. It boasts an authentic feel – a cocktail on the beach at sunset really is unforgettable. In the center of Cefalù, the narrow-cobbled streets all lead to the main pedestrian street and the main town square where stands an imposing Norman Cathedral. You will be spoilt for choice as there is an array of restaurants and bars, fresh fish galore, creamy ice creams and rich ricotta cakes on every street corner.
Cefalù is also where Norman and Arab influences intermingle to form a rich tapestry of history. Many beautiful churches abound and the Mandralisca Museum is well worth a visit. For a sense of achievement, walk up the numerous steps to La Rocca. Your prize is the incredible view of the coastline and a sense of peace. The coastline to the east, towards Messina, includes Castel di Tusa with a unique arts hotel museum, “Atelier sul mare”. Here each room is designed by a different artist. The area includes an arts itinerary created by the same owner of the hotel, the arts mecenate, Antonio Presti. Follow the trails of Fiumara Arte, a controversial message to fight the Mafia.
In the hills behind Cefalù are the Madonie Mountains with their picturesque towns and villages. People here are kind and have a strong sense of tradition. Food, like everywhere else around in the region, simply superb.
Sicily’s capital, Palermo, is only an hour’s drive away. It’s bustling main streets are lined with elegant baroque buildings, and not to mention a host of loveable sites dotting the area. Palermo’s famous market, A Vucceria, has a strong Arabic influence that floats in the air with its perfumes and colours. Be prepared to drive as a Sicilian though, as it is a remarkably busy city.