Cefalù Land of myth and mythical holiday, a terrace suspended between mountains and sea surrounded by the scent of jasmine in an idyllic position for the beautiful and picturesque contrast between sea and rock. Located at the foot of the Madonie, surrounded by unspoilt nature, you will find an unknown Sicily made of ancient flavors and medieval towns. The territory of Cefalu, in addition to hill and mountain routes of the Madonie, offers great hiking and beautiful nature, as well as many scenic and natural beauty. The ancient name Kephaloidion comes from the greek kefalè boss, referring to the rock that dominates it. The Normans left their most beautiful Cathedral, founded by King Roger in 1131, whose construction was completed in over a hundred years. Do not miss the cloister next to the church from which you can admire the sides of the complex and the apses of the Cathedral. See, also, the Bishop’s Palace in 1793, Palazzo Piraino with a sixteenth-century portal and the former monastery of St. Catherine, now the Town Hall. Shortly beyond the Piazza del Duomo is the Mandralisca Museum, which holds in its Greek and Arabic ceramic salt, ancient Sicilian coins, paintings and other works of art including vessels of Antonello’s famous “Portrait of an unknown” by the Messina 1465-70. To visit is the Fountain, located on the cliff, with interesting remains of archaic fortifications composed of large blocks of polygonal shape at the base, with the top medieval or modern remakes. For the Via Vittorio Emanuele you reach, protected by a gate, a medieval wash dug into the rock. A walk on the cliff, following Vicolo dei Saraceni, leads to the ruins of the Temple of Diana in the ninth century BC and the Medieval Castle. A few km from Cefalu, 800 meters s.l.m., amidst the lush vegetation of chestnut, oak and ash trees, stands the Sanctuary of Gibilmanna, interesting place of worship and pilgrimage.
The Natural Park of Madonie
The park was established in Sicily, in 1989, as a preserved area,the Madonie park, made of 39,972 hectares, fifteen municipalities, agricultural centers of considerable importance. The landscape, in fact, is a heterogeneous set of different and unique environments. A deep valleys alternate, at the bottom of which flow streams torrential, the rugged mountains overlooking the sea, the “lace”, soaring limestone hills and steep, the “cozzi” clayey origin including s’ interposed numerous plains. At lower altitudes we find the typical Mediterranean vegetation with pine, heather, broom, euphorbia and strawberry trees. The vegetation Madonie varies depending on altitude: above the 800 meters, on the northern side, alternating dense forests of beech, chestnut and cork oak. In the mountainous area between the mantle of oak and beech forest meet the endemic vegetation, like the Abies Nebrodensis, juniper, mistletoe, hawthorn. As you descend meet old olive groves and, between Pollina and Castelbuono, ash and holly trees. In the southern slope, close to the sea, the mountains give way to myths and green hills, warm and sunny in the summer, dominated by pastures and wheat crops and orzo.Vero botanic paradise, the park is home to the Madonie most of the 2,600 floral species present in Sicily. There are numerous trails and “trazzere” dirt that penetrate the vegetation, to discover the most hidden and beautiful corners, where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of nature. After the Etna park, the reserve Madonie is the highest mountain range in Sicily, the highest peaks and spectacular are Pizzo Carbonara (1979 m.), Monte San Salvatore (1912 m.), Monte Ferro (1906 m. ) Monte Ouacella (1869 m.) and Monte dei Cervi (1656 m.). Although part of the same complex, the peaks look very different from each other: rounded or pointed, bare or covered with vegetation; draw valleys, plains, plateaus, cliffs and gently undulating backs. From the top of these peaks with sweeping views of a wide horizon, embracing beautiful landscapes: Etna, Nebrodi and the Aeolian Islands. This natural paradise also the fauna is rich and varied in numerous animal species: the park, in fact, home to foxes, weasels, porcupines and hares, owls, warblers, spotted woodpeckers, dormice, ravens and the extraordinary golden eagle. Natural setting aside, the fifteen municipalities of the reserve Madonie boast ancient origins and urban centers retain a facility mainly medieval, with a rich artistic heritage, guarded churches and palaces. In these small towns you can taste the genuine products of agriculture and livestock, such as “tuma”, fresh ricotta cheese and various cheeses, handmade by the pastors of the top of the Madonie. Among the most attractive areas we recommend Castelbuono, Polizzi Generosa, Piano Battaglia, Petralia Soprana, and descending to the sea, Cefalu. The best time of year to visit the park is the spring, between March and early June, when it occurs in the flowering plant, or in autumn, when the woods and valleys are tinged with poignant colors. The climatic characteristics of the Madonie are certainly influenced by the complex orographic articulation. Therefore, despite the general characteristics are those of the Mediterranean-maritime climate along the coast are recorded normally hot summers, short winters and generally mild, with rainfall concentrated in the autumn and winter. In the inland areas, however, the winter temperatures are more rigid, while the summer remain almost unchanged. The annual average temperatures are between a minimum of 7-10 ° c and a maximum of 18-30 ° c. To those who went on the Madonie and perhaps intends to play a hike in the mountains we recommend suitable clothing, possibly “thick” (cotton T-shirt, sweater etc.), To adapt to changes in temperature, usually frequent in these areas. It should also bring a waterproof jacket in your backpack and boots comfortable and light.