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Cefalý and its Duomo


The Normans and the Hohenstaufen Kings of Southern Italy



In 1131 Roger II was on his way back to Sicily from Naples, when his fleet of ships was caught in a violent storm.  He vowed that if delivered from the storm, he would build a Cathedral in the place he landed - which turned out to be the fishing town of Cefalý on Sicily's north coast.  The Cathedral was unfinished when Roger died in 1154, and his successors, not having shared the near death storm experience and preferring the climate of Palermo, did not pursue the project with any great enthusiasm or money.  So the only "Royal bit" is the Apse - everything else was low budget.  Even Roger's tomb was moved to the "royal row" in Palermo Cathedral.  Cefalý Cathedral was not consecrated until 1267 (well after Emperor Henry VI had put an end to Norman rule in Sicily in 1194), but it was and is one of the great external Cathedral settings of Italy.  Don't hold your breath about what you will see inside, apart, of course, from the Pantocrator and other mosaics in the Apse.



And if you are feeling peckish, the Frutti di Martorana shop is at the edge of the little Cathedral Piazza (but remember they are all made of marzipan / pistachio etc)


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