Cefalù and Palermo, Sicily
It's been a while since I've posted, but I'm determined to finish these series before it hits a year from when I actually took this trip. Also, stay tuned for some 2017 round-ups, both beauty and otherwise!
And without further ado, let's go to the next stop on the cruise, Sicily!
As soon as we disembarked the ship and got onto the tour bus, I was disappointed to hear that we wouldn't be spending the whole day in Palermo, the capital of Sicily, as the architecture there looked beautiful and the food seemed marvelous. Instead, we were first going to Cefalù, a town a couple of hours away, and would come back to Palermo for a couple of hours later in the day.
I wasn't disappointed for long, as the drive there was beautiful. We drove through the mountains and had a great view of the northern coast of Sicily. The town itself was marvelous as well, a quaint little town with beautiful, ancient architecture, in a secluded area so that, if not for the motorcycles and little tourist shops, stepping into town was like stepping back in time.
Our first stop in the little town was its primary attraction, the Cathedral of Cefalù. Before we went in for a tour, we had some time to sit in the little plaza in front of the cathedral for some cappuccinos and gelato.
The cathedral, erected in the twelfth century, displays its Norman architecture proudly in its façade, which is defined by its two large Norman towers. Its fortress-like appearance also adds to the overall medieval feeling of the town.
I don't have any pictures of the interior of the cathedral, but the inside was impressive as well. There is a lot of mosaic work from the Byzantine art of the twelfth century, and while the cathedral has been restored before, the original granite in the pointed arches of the nave is still visible in some parts.
After the cathedral, we walked around Cefalù as a group, and the tour guide brought us to a medieval laundry area right in the middle of town, located in a little nook located at the bottom of a winding staircase.
The laundry nook concluded the tour, and we had some time to roam around on our end. My family decided to hang out by the beautiful shore.
After our little bit of free time, we made the drive back into the city. We had some time before we needed to board our ship, so we were able to walk through parts of the city while our tour guide explained more of Sicily's rich history and how it informs the architecture there.
Throughout the course of history, Sicily had been occupied by many different cultures, and that is reflected in the buildings. When Christians came to occupy Sicily after Muslims, rather than destroy existing buildings, they incorporated their own culture into the structures. As our tour guide put it, Sicily and the architecture in Palermo in particular was a great example of different cultures and/or religions coming together in harmony.
Yes, this is a cathedral and Catholic church. It is a beautiful structure, characterized by different styles from additions throughout the centuries. I would probably come back to Sicily just to marvel at this in person again.
Unfortunately, I can't offer much more for this leg of the trip - it really was just a lot of walking/driving around and viewing of pretty landscapes and pretty buildings. Though while we were at the Palermo Cathedral, we got a brief chance to try out some street food. We got these potato balls, and they were amazing. I didn't end up being too bummed by the trip, as everything we saw was so beautiful, but I definitely would want to come again so I can try out and appreciate the food here.