Although we seem to walk 8-10 KM a day, it never seems enough to offset the Italian food that you can sample in other posts. So it was with some excitement that we set our sites on Cefalu, an hour train ride outside of Palermo.
The town is home to one of those areas that allows you to experience multiple historic sites that are separated by some 2,000 years in time, with the most recent still some 1:000 years from present day. Waking beside the fortified walls built around 900 BC you arrive at the Temple of Diana (Roman) dated around 5th century BC close to a Byzantine church and finally an 11th century AD Norman castle.
But first we have to climb up 600 feet or 200 meters along a dusty, rocky upward sloping path in the mid day heat to reach our goal. This should work off some pasta.
Starting back…..way back, just before you reach the pinnacle
Here is the door to the temple and a step along our virtual hike through the ages. A time when the Romans ushered in their golden age through conquests of many parts of the Mediterranean. With temples dedicated to their borrowed Greek gods, they established settlements to control Sicily as a strategic position, but also to gain access to fertile grain fields to feed the growing population in Rome and elsewhere.
Next stop 11th Century AD. As was custom in ancient and medieval times, the first son received titles and all the land/riches that was accumulated in the previous generation. As such the other sons had to rely on the good faith of the elder sibling (not often generous) or seek fortune elsewhere.
So it was that some Norman aristocrats were encouraged/forced to travel great lengths to find their place. Roger, youngest son of Tacred of Hauteville, found his way to Sicily. Encouraged, and with some resources, to force the Muslims out of these areas. (One of his brothers also held sway on parts mainland of what is now Italy).
Roger was successful and more will be said. But here we see one of his castles, set up near the height of the Rocca.
In Cefalu, there is also a beautiful Norman church, set up to show the new power in Sicily, and also to claim more power than the Pope in Rome had intended. This allowed the new dynasty to hold both religious and sectorial roles.