Taormina is 200 meters above sea level on a hillside from which it looks down onto the Ionian Sea as from a terrace.

For centuries it has become a gathering home for poets, writers, painters, and other artists who come and then stay. Maybe it is the beauty of the city. Maybe it is the climate. Maybe it is the Greek-Roman Theatre that tops the hill. Maybe it is the views of the sea and south toward Mount Etna.

Regardless, people come and return and stay -- if they can.


Cefalù is a fine seaside resort right on a fine sandy beach.

The original town was on a huge rock, where - if you are fit and energetic - you can see on the way up the remains of the "Temple of Diana".

In the 9th century AD Cefalù became Arab, and in the 12th century was re-founded by the Norman Roger II. The great cathedral was built, not as the legend has it, as a thanksgiving for his survival after being shipwrecked on the coast, but for largely political reasons. It was meant to press his quarrel with Pope Innocent III, and consecrated by the anti-Pope.

I really wanted to see the Museo Mandralisca, but the Museum was closed. When I told the hotel staff of this they laughed. Apparently they used to offer a prize to any guest who manage to gain entry! Sure enough, it was still closed when I left Cefalù a week later.

This is Cefalu. Accept it and you will love it.