You can't miss the Cathedral of Cefalu' - it rises above the city and defines its skyline. The massive fortress-like structure was started in 1131 and consecrated in 1267. It was commissioned by Roger II, the Norman ruler of Sicily, reportedly in thanks for having survived a violent storm that landed him here in Cefalu' in safety. It was dedicated to the triumphant Christ and the decorations reflect his desire to exult Christianity over the Arab culture that was mingled on the island.

The church was built in Romanesque style with Norman elements and resembled a fortified structure because of its close proximity to the shore. It has two towers and a three-arched portico. It has a Latin cross plan with three naves and cross vaults that are decorated with sculptural elements. Ancient columns scavaged from other sites line the nave, topped with 2nd century BC capitals. But the crowning glory of the cathedral is the cycle of Byzantine mosaics. The ornate masterpieces are especially detailed and brilliant, depicting the triumphant Christ, Mary, the archangels, the apostles and prophets, along with cherubs and patterned elements. They are breathtaking works of painstaking art.

In front of the cathedral is the space that was originally delineated as the cemetery that was made with earth brought over from Jerusalem, partly for symbolic significance and partly for its qualities that rapidly mummified the bodies entombed there.

The cloister shouldn't be overlooked, as it is a beautiful garden-like space outlined with columns that are capped with carved capitals and pointed arches in Moorish style. It's a beautiful oasis.

The Duomo of Cefalu is located in the old center of the city, just a few blocks from the seafront. The piazza in front has sidewalk cafes and the shopping streets radiate off the piazza.

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Address in Cefalù:

Piazza del Duomo.

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