Cefalù
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CEFALÙ

Dominating from a lofty rock rising out of the frontal area of the Northern coast of Sicily, Cefalù has been inhabited since a pre-Greek age, as testified by traces of human settlements found in the caves of the same rock.
Its name was Kephaloidíon during the Greek era, which was derived from the term Kefalé meaning precisely head.
It was governed alternately by Greeks and Carthaginians until the end of 254 BC, when it was overtaken by the Romans during the historical second Punic Wars and became known as Cephaloedium.
Through Rome, it became a Decuman city, and during the imperial age, a waged city, seeing the beginning of the minting of its own currency.
It then became an Episcopal seat, and after Vandali rule and being part of the Ostrogoth Reign of Italy, it became part of the Byzantine dominion. .
Under Bisanzio, the City was transferred onto the rocks, to defend itself from further seaward attacks.
After two long sieges during ‘838 and ‘858, it was overtaken by the Arabs, who named it Gafludi.
In 1063, it was overtaken by Count Ruggero d’Altavilla, future King Ruggero I of Sicily. Under Norman rule, the inhabitants moved further along the coast and monuments and churches were built as testimony to a period of development and splendour.
During the entire historical period, from Norman to Aragonese rule, Cefalù was a fortified city with imposing defence walls, in case of attack from the seaward direction.
In 1861, the City was annexed to the Reign of Italy.
Today Cefalù is a touristic meta of notable interest, both for its sea and its beach, as well as the wealth of art it conserves and offers to a more demanding visitor – an example is its beautiful Cathedral which was constructed in 1131 under the reign of Ruggero II d’Altavilla.
Amongst the most worthy civil buildings of note, we highlight the l'Osterio Magno, probably residence of King Ruggero (13th Century), the Palazzo Vescovile of 1793 and the Palazzo Piraino in Piazza del Duomo, where one can also find the ex Monastery of Saint Caterina, and Palazzo Atenasio Martino (15th Century).
The Church of S. Salvatore, outside the wall, is also very beautiful as well as the Church dell’Itria.
The archaic fortifications are also visible along the rocks, in the Fontana locality.

CEFALÙ
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