During the dog days of August, it's a long, hot, sweaty climb up to this rocky crag, but once you're here, the view is panoramic, one of the grandest in Sicily. If you're stout-hearted, count on 20 minutes to approach the ruins of the so-called Temple of Diana and another 45 huffing-and-puffing minutes to scale the pinnacle.

From Piazza Garibaldi, along Corso Ruggero, a sign -- ACCESSO ALLA ROCCA -- will launch you on your way. In summer, I recommend taking this jaunt either in the early morning or when evening breezes are blowing.

In Cefalù's heyday, this was the site of the acropolis of Cephaloedium, with a temple dedicated to Hercules on the top. Over the centuries, residents from below used this zone as a stone quarry.


You'll come first to the ruins of the Tempio di Diana, which popular tradition has attributed as a temple to the goddess Diana. Now consisting of mammoth trapezoidal blocks, the temple was constructed or reconstructed in various stages from the 9th century to the 4th century B.C.

As you continue to the top, you'll see the restored ancient Arab and medieval fortifications. From here, you can see all the way to the skyline of Palermo in the west or to Capo d'Orlando in the east. The lookout tower here, now in ruins, was called Torre Caldura and guarded an unfriendly coastline. On a clear day you can't see forever, but you will get a stunning view of the Aeolian Islands.