La Rocca, another wedding and a walk on the beach.

Cefalu Travel Blog

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We were beat! We set the alarm for 9:00 am, sleeping in! Rob got up and gathered breakfast items (juice and tiny toast squares). We had bought fruits and yogurt and had the tasty new almond, pistachio, and cactus spreads for the tiny toast. 


While Rob was preparing breakfast, I checked email and posted a few pics on facebook. I was so excited with yesterday’s adventure in Caccamo that I had to send my mother two pictures of the town, as a teaser.


Rob and I had our breakfast at our own little table in our extremely large room by the sea.

He had done a great job of preparing a breakfast feast with our treats Italiano.


While eating, we discussed the plan for the day. I mentioned that wouldn’t it be nice to have a view from on top of La Rocca. Surely there was a way to get to the top. We also wanted to see the interior of the Cathedral of Cefalu. We had seen pictures and it was a must. It was built in 1131 in the style of Norman Architecture (Sicilian Romanesque).


Also the Museo Mandralisca was listed in the guide as a must, also.  Rob went and asked about La Rocca while I was in the shower. He came back with the directions for getting us through the town and to the path up the mountain. It’s 378 meters (over 1000 ft) tall.


We left a bit after 11:00am, our latest start for this journey.

The start of the path of stairs was a bit tricky to find initially but, on the second try we found it. The path was made up of some actual stairs up to a point, then earth and rocks. It was a long, long way up. We took our time because not only was there so many stairs but the grade was extremely steep at many points. It was a great workout.


At each new transition (flat spot!), I took some panoramic photos. The higher we climbed the more we could see. Along the way there were many great cacti bearing and orange fruit.


At some levels that were higher, we saw ancient ruins of a fortified wall. It was only partly standing and was a very dramatic addition to the landscape.


Again higher, we could make out the coastline and all of the orange tiled roofs of Cefalu.


There comes a point where you are at a plateau with a little valley and meadow. It is like an island in the city. At this point, there were ruins of many houses and we could even make out the ruins of ovens made of rock and brick.


I had to stop and take a picture of the prettiest purple flower. I hadn’t seen many flowers on the climb but, this was a beauty.


Still on the plateau we continued on a path around the edge on the side facing the town. There were ruins of a temple to Diana but, they were so degraded that you couldn’t tell it was anything special. I didn’t take a picture.


We reached the outermost ridge of the plateau and were rewarded with a fantastic panorama of the Old Town and even the curve of the coastline to the west.

We could clearly make out the Cefalu Cathedral. It is a much larger complex than it seems from below. It even has a courtyard that isn’t easily visible from ground level. We could even make out where our hotel was and I took a close up.


Also from this height you can see the differing colors of the varying depths of the water along the coast. It is changes from green, to blue-green, to blue. It is a colorful contrast of the brown and gray of the rock, the green of the vegetation, and the orange of the tiled roofs. Its colors make for beautiful paintings.


We stopped for a bit at this outermost ridge and had an apple for an energy boost and then kept walking the ridge to the other side of La Rocca.


At the far eastern side you have views of the harbor filled with boats of many sizes and shapes.

There is also a peninsula that juts out into the Thyrannean Sea. It’s jagged and time and erosion has created the most unusual shapes on it. There are even caves visible along its flanks. There are a few smaller jagged mounds that sprinkle around the water nearby.


A nice woman from Switzerland, who was there with her two sons, asked if we wanted to have our picture taken. We, of course, said yes, and offered to take one of her and the kids. 


Having made the trek across the plateau and found the most wonderful views and photo-ops, we were satisfied with the journey and decided not to continue to climb to very top. We started out descent. The journey down was shorter but harder on the knees. The view going down offered some different perspectives missed on the way up.


We finally made it to the bottom! Now, we were hungry and in search of nourishment. It started to sprinkle as we searched. I’m glad that it waited until we were finished with the climb. We settled on a small restaurant with some interesting choices with local ingredients. We chose to eat at a little awning set up across the street from the main restaurant. It gave us the best people watching possibilities. We sat at a table with a nice French couple. We took their picture. They were holding hands and kissing so much, I wondered if they might be on their honeymoon. The food was very good and reasonably priced a winner. During our lunch, the sky opened up and it rained buckets but, luckily by the time we were leaving it had stopped.


We chose to skip dessert and stopped for gelato, instead. I had orange and melon, Rob had straciettella. The gelato here is a bit icier and not as creamy. I prefer it, Rob doesn’t. 


With concern that bad weather might reappear, again, I decided we should have a walk down the beach to the other end of the curve in the coastline.

The view from there when we drove in was fantastic. I wanted to also get my feet wet and hopefully find some shells.


The beach was virtually deserted just us and an old man in his spedo……not good! The water felt a touch cold, at first, to my feet but after only a few minutes it felt great. The waves were inconsistent in their height so, it would seem calm for a bit and then, bam, a big one and you were all wet. In no time, we were almost soaked. We kept walking but looked for shells or sea glass at the same time. At one point Rob has spotted a rock with blue center and white outer ring. I saw it, also, but the waves kept us from our treasure. We tried really hard but, you can’t fight nature. We continued walking and enjoying the sound of the crashing waves and feel of the sand between our toes and cool water on our feet while taking in a most beautiful of views. A walk on a beautiful beach with the one that you love, what could be better?


We reached the end of the curve and took some final dramatic shots of Cefalu, La Rocca, and the mountains.

We decided to take a faster route back and moved up to the boardwalk. It started to rain, harder and harder. I appreciate that it waited until I was finished walking on the beach. The closer we got to the old town the harder it rained and the wind became fierce. Rob umbrella even was temporarily damaged by the strong gusts.


Within the protection of old town, the wind was less and the rain seemed to lessen. We headed to the Cefalu Cathedral. We arrived and another wedding was starting. The bride was just walking up to the front of the church for her entrance. We watched for a moment and took a few shots of the festivities.


Since the church was occupied, we decided to visit the museum and then return. It was raining a bit harder, again so, this was perfect.


The Museo is listed as a must in most guide books.

It’s just okay. It has a few impressive paintings, pieces of ancient pottery and a nice shell collection but, it is definitely over hyped. Most of the painting and other artifacts are not labeled. The most of the labeled paintings have no artist listed as they don’t even know. They have 2 small masterpieces, sort of, that are given special large black spaces and even a laser alarm system. These are the pride of the museum: the magnificent “Portrait of a Man”, a work by Antonello da Messina, and the crater Siceliotes red figures on a black background, “the Seller of tuna”.
 I think they are over protecting these “nice” paintings. A man even watches you while you are viewing these two paintings, too much.  (5 euro)


We left the Museo with the full intention of viewing the church, now but, the wedding was still in progress. We decided to walk the alleyways behind and around the church. There was another colorful church that I had seen from above that I wanted to check out. When we found it, the close proximity to, well……. everything,. made it impossible to enjoy the view, let alone photograph it. Back to the Church.


Finally, as we walk up, we see nicely dressed people with flower sprays walking home from the ceremony. We rush up the stairs to go inside.


Upon entering, we hear the sound of a mass in progress.

I took a few pictures and sat down. The more I listened; I determined that they were saying a rosary. Even in Italian, the rhythm was undeniable. I walked to one side of the church and was able to see some of the beauty around the altar. It has the most magnificent mosaics of Christ and many other decorative details. To the other side, there is a totally silver altar piece with many chandeliers above.


I moved as close as I could to the barrier erected and took my final shots of the wonderful frescoed walls around the mosaics. The mixture of color, geometric designs, and Baroque reliefs were a masterpiece of artistry.


We left the church and stopped briefly at a souvenir shop where I found a nice shirt for myself and one for my cousin, Brooke. Now, in search of a few dinner items and we would have dinner in, again. We stopped and picked up some parma and regianno at one shop. We stopped for apples and cucumbers at another.

A stop at the bakery for some fresh bread and a final stop for some Sicilian salt and we were ready to return.


In the b&b’s little kitchen, Rob prepared our dinner of local products. It was fresh and everything was so flavorful. We even used some of the olive oil that we bought in Caccamo. The olives are grown in town and the oil is pressed there, too.


While Rob was making us dinner, I went to the terrace off the kitchen and absorbed some of the salty air and enjoy the whitecaps on the sea. I just love the water.


Rob finished yesterday’s blog as I had worked on most of it and then I wrote about today. We packed most things and talked about tomorrow’s plan. I checked the weather and it seems like rain. I hope it gets better because, as we were eating and writing the wind was very rough and the rain beat on the windows.

Please let it end by morning.

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photo by: zetez