Thursday, October 25, 2012

"You can see the entire history of Sicily right here in Cefalù."

The owner of Hotel La Giara in Cefalù led me up to the roof terrace for a low-level panorama across the city. He made a sweeping gesture encompassing the rooftops and said proudly:

"You can see the entire history of Sicily right here in Cefalù."

"Up on the rocca," he jabs his finger toward the sheer headland that locals call "the fortress" and which shelters Cefalù's perfect little harbor. "You find prehistoric caves and an ancient Greek temple."

"Down here," his hand sweeps to present the narrow streets directly below us. "You can see the courtyards of old Saracen homes, and how the Arabs built the streets narrow as one man, so that if enemies tried to attack, they'd have to enter Cefalù in single file." He paused to grin devilishly. "That way it was easy for just a few men up here with arrows and some more down there with swords to dispatch them."