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Maritime center and an elegant seaside resort on Sicily's northern coast, Cefalù is famous for its long golden beach and the 14th century Norman Cathedral. Standing elevated above the main square, this magnificent building was commissioned by Roger II of Sicily, to whom Cefalù owes its golden days.
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The majestic three aisles basilica with its two square towers dominates the city's skyline. Their main attractions are the gorgeous Byzantine mosaics on the gold background, the masterpiece of the artists from Constantinople, depicting ''Christ Pantocrator'' with Virgin Mary, archangels, apostles, saints, prophets, patriarchs and angels. On the left side of the cathedral stand the remains of a 12th century cloister once flanking the cathedral.
''Christ Pantocrator'' is celebrated between the 2nd and the 6th of August every year, with the feast of the ''Santissimo Salvatore della Trasfigurazione'' (Holy Saviour of the Transfiguration), starting with the traditional deployment of the flag of Christ between the towers of the cathedral and continuing with the ceremonial procession of the statue of Christ, followed by fireworks launched at sea. During the festival people play a game called ''L'antinna a mari'', a skill game similar to the greasy pole, with a long trunk perched over the sea. ''Pasta in Taianu'' is the traditional ceremonial dish, made with short pasta, frayed meat sauce, eggplant and pecorino cheese, taking its name from the clay pot used for cooking it.
Cefalù boasts with many palaces, churches and religious buildings. Precious archaeological finds and artworks can be admired in the Mandralisca Museum, including vases, pottery and a late Hellenistic mosaic floor, all of which were discovered during local and excavations from the Island of Lipari. The gallery's main attraction is the 1470 famous ''Ritratto d'Ignoto'' (Portrait of an Unknown) by Antonello da Messina.
On the hill above Cefalù stand the remains of the Temple of Diana, a 4th century BC megalithic structure and a medieval fortress, used by local people to escape Arab raids along the coast.