By Antonio Malara
The visit to Cefalù was actually a stop for a couple of hours with my family on the way back from a weekend in Palermo. However for me, the meaning of this small town has much more distant origins. In fact, here worked for forty years, one of my mother’s uncle, a person I respect a lot. Today he’s over 90 years old and an old times man, as I said, he worked in Cefalù for his entire career. The story of him has always fascinated me and I have always respected this uncle and when I was little, I often visited him in Cefalù with my parents. Of course I've always had vague memories of those visits even though I remember things from my very early childhood. During the years of my life as an "adult" I never returned to Cefalù and that day in early October, I planned my return home in such a way as to pass by the town for a couple of hours and the fact of being with my parents added value to the visit.
The first thing I recognized when arriving in Cefalù was the traditional rail crossing. It may seem strange, but the access road to it was and still is a small space where two cars barely pass. I have never forgotten this detail, it has remained in my mind since childhood. I probably remember that detail because it was also a small fear that I had, the road practically became a funnel and crossed with the train tracks in a very close way. Going through the tracks as an adult and driving personally, exorcised that little fear and with this awareness, together with my parents, I arrived on the promenade where I immediately parked the car. It was a late afternoon in early October but the beach was full of people sunbathing or swimming. I had no memory of that part of the city and honestly I was very impressed by the size and extent of the beach. This was also well organized and the place was populated by many local people and tourists from all over the world. The old part of the city began where the beach ended, very characteristic with houses practically on the sea. I took many photos both towards the sea and the characteristic mountain that stood above the town.
We walked towards the old part of the town through the small streets where the houses were so close that they seemed to touch each other. The destination was the main square where the cathedral was and we got there in about ten minutes. The square was populated by many cafes with outdoor seating and people sitting at tables enjoying cold drinks. The cathedral which was accessed via a large staircase was higher than the square and it was dominated by the large mountain above. It was a very particular view where actually it was not clear who dominated the scene, whether the cathedral or the mountain. The cathedral it had two towers separated by a central section with three arches, the construction was in yellow stone and I was very impressed. I had no memories of it and when I discover beautiful structures near the places where I live, I’m always very satisfied. The time spent there with my family passed in a relaxing way between the visit to the cathedral, the photos and then with a nice ice cream that we enjoyed while standing in the crowd. Upon returning to the marina we were greeted by a beautiful sunset with the sun going straight into the sea. Our stay there lasted about an hour and a half and we left Cefalù immersed in the red color of an October sunset.
Returning to Cefalù in adulthood was very pleasant and meaningful, besides the beauty of the place there was also the evocation of a very important person who had lived there. As I wandered through the streets, I thought of my uncle who lived in those places forty years earlier and imagined how nice it would be to share that afternoon with him too.
Pictures: Antonio Malara
Camera: Fujifilm XT-20