Cefalù (Ras Melkart in Phoenician Κεφαλοίδιον, in Greek, Cephaloedium in Latin, Gafludi in Arabic, Cifalù in Sicilian) is situated on the northern coast of Sicily, at the foot of a rocky promontory, inside the Park of the Madonie. It is one of the largest resorts throughout the region. Its medieval nucleus is located below the fortress of Cefalù. Outside the borders of the historical center of the city, the urban core has extended astride the small flat area that separates the fortress from the rest of the system of hills of Costa expanding still further half coast on the slopes of the hills along the coast.
Traces of frequentation of the site dates back to prehistoric times, in particular in two caves that open on the northern side of the promontory on which the town rose. To a settlement pre-Hellenic relates the walls of megalithic type, dated at the end of the V century B.C., which surrounds the current historical center and is largely still preserved, and the simultaneous Temple of Diana, a shrine consisting of a megalithic building, covered with slabs of stone dolmenico type that hosts a previous tank more ancient (IX century a.C.). In the IV century BC Greeks gave to the indigenous center the name of Κεφαλοίδιον (Kefaloidion), from the Greek kefa or kefalé, (Head); reported probably his promontory. It cannot be excluded however the phonetic shooting from the Aramaic language (cananaica closely akin to the Phoenician kephas) ("stone, rock"), thus always in reference to the promontory. In 307 B.C. it was conquered from the Syracusans and in 254 B.C. by the Romans, who gave it in latin name Cephaloedium. The city Hellenistic-roman had an urban structure adjust, formed by secondary roads converging on the main road axis and closed in a loop by a road which follows the perimeter of the town walls. In the period of Byzantine domination the village moved from the plain on the rocca and remain traces of work of fortification of this epoch (crenellated walls), as well as churches, barracks, tanks for water and furnaces). The old town was not however completely abandoned, as evidence the recent discovery of a building of Christian worship, with the floor in polychrome mosaic dating back to the VI century.
In 858, after a long siege it was conquered by the Arabs, who gave it the name of Gafludi, and became part of the emirate of Palermo. In this period you have however news scarce and fragmentary and there is also a shortage of monumental tokens. In 1063 it was conquered by the Normans of Ruggero and, in 1131, thanks to Ruggero II, was reoccupied the ancient town on the coast, respecting the structure already existing urban. Between the middle of the thirteenth century and 1451 passed under the dominion of various feudal lords and finally it became a possession of the bishop of Cefalù. The subsequent history of Cefalù may be likened to that of Sicily and the rest of Italy. In 1752 there will begin to establish foreign consulates (France, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden) and the city became the destination of the Grand Tour. During the Risorgimento, there was shot on 14 March 1857, the patriot Spinuzza Savior. After landing of Giuseppe Garibaldi in January 1861, the city proclaimed its accession to the Reign of Italy.
The historical center of Cefalù has a medieval structure characterized by narrow streets, paved with pebbles of the beach and the limestone of the Fortress of Cefalù. In Via Vittorio Emanuele is the public washhouse known as medieval washhouse, at the late-renaissance palazzo Martino. The wash house has a staircase in lava stone and lumachella that leads to a flooring polished by time and to a series of tanks that will fill with water flowing from twenty-two mouths of cast iron (fifteen of which lion heads) arranged along the walls overhung by low times. Through a little cave, the water reaches the sea. In the tanks are evident the supports that served for wiping cloths.