During a visit to Casa Migliaca, it is obvious to take a trip to Cefalù, located northwest of Casa Migliaca on the coast 37 km away. Cefalù is a cozy port town with almost 14,000 inhabitants. The most characteristic of the city is the large cliff that rises from the center. If the weather is clear, it is an unusually wonderful trip to climb this one.
It is an old city and part of the city wall can be dated back to the 5th century BC. From the same period there is a Diana temple on the cliff. Greeks, Syracuse, Romans and Byzantines have alternately held power in the city. The Byzantines moved most of the city up the mountain. Here it remained when the Arabs took over the city in 858 after a long siege, which was now under the Emir of Palermo. When the Normans “liberated” the city in 1061, they moved it back to the coast. During this period, several of the city’s monuments were erected: the Church of San Giorgio, the laundries on Via Vittorio Emanuele, the abbey of the cathedral and the Palazzo Maria on the cathedral square and the Osterio Magno on the Corso Ruggiero. In addition, the beautiful cathedral is dated to 1131. This is followed by the history of Cefalù, the rest of Sicily’s history. In 1752, foreign consulates began to come to the city. The Danish consulate was one of the first, because the city became part of the Great Journey of Formation, which many artists undertook. Today, the city earns its living mainly through fishing and tourism. So also for Cefalù, beautiful places are hard to have for themselves!
The center of Cefalù is a typical Italian medieval town with narrow, cobbled streets. Inside the middle of the worst crowds, the view suddenly opens up towards the water at the old harbor. You have to stop here – and very conveniently there is a café.
A legend tells that the cathedral was built by the Norman king Roger II. At a shipwreck he asked God for help and when he was subsequently washed ashore, he thanked God for building the cathedral here.
On the west side of the city there is the most beautiful sandy beach, so it is advisable to bring swimwear here
As previously mentioned, there is a fantastic hike up the mountain. The trip takes approx. an hour and the efforts are so richly rewarded already on the way up, where one is surrounded by an amazing flora. You also have many beautiful views of the city and the turquoise sea. Up on top is the ruin of the old castle, and then it is no longer the ascent that makes one lose their breath; but the unimaginable beauty one is surrounded by. Paradise must look like this!
On the opposite side of the Tusa Valley – seen from Casa Migliaca – lies Tusa 614 m above sea level. It is a city with almost 3,500 inhabitants. It was a Greek settlement some distance away that founded the city. Their own town had been destroyed by an earthquake in 856 and they have probably also felt the spirit in the necks of their enemies since they chose to settle in this place that was easy to defend.
Very few tourists find their way to the small town and the Tusa residents would very much like to talk.
Just outside Tusa is the archeological site of Halaesa Arconidea. These are the ruins of a secular city founded in 403 BC. of Arconide, tyrant of Herbita. The greatness of the city was known in Roman times and in the beginning of Christianity, when it became the episcopal see. Subsequently, it was destroyed by the Arabs.
The excavations have brought the pillars of the castle and the location of the ancient Agora to light. Here are also impressive walls of square stone terrazzo from the Hellenic period and the foundation of an Apollo temple. Recent studies have mapped the presence of an urban complex as a regular chessboard, with roads paved with parallel bricks and a major central street leading from the city’s south gate to the Agora. This road is from the Christian Byzantine period.
At the top of the hill there is a temple that one cannot visit today.
Another ancient town that can be seen from Casa Migliaca is Motta d’Affermo, a small town with 1,150 inhabitants. It is 6 km from Pettineo. The old name of the city is Sparto. The city, like the rest of Sicily, has had changing rulers. From around the 16th century it was an important city, i.a. because of its fortress, churches and its public buildings.
Mistretta, where the Allegra family, Teresa’s family, is located, is 950 m above sea level. From Pettineo there are 18 km of winding roads up the mountain to it. Today it is a small town with 5,400 inhabitants. The number of inhabitants has dropped drastically. In 1921 there were almost 15,000.
From Mistretta there is a beautiful panorama of the sea, where in clear weather you can see the Aeolian Islands. In winter, it is not uncommon for snow to fall in the city.
The founding of the city is lost in the dawn of time. According to the Odyssey, the Cyclops lived here. After all, the city is one of Sicily’s oldest.
Castel di Lucio
15 km from Pettineo is Castel di Lucio. It is a cozy mountain town 753 m above sea level. Here are 1,600 inhabitants. Above the city are the ruins of a Norman castle from the 12th century.
Pettineo is the town on the outskirts of Casa Migliaca.
The earliest note one has about the city dates from the 13th century and is really just about a property, the Pectineum, which is handed over to one of the king’s administrators for long and faithful service. Around the year 1500, the fortress is built, whose ruins today stand as a landmark when approaching the city.