Throughout history a long list of admirers have made their way to Sicily’s sunny shores. Cefalù, considered the pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea, is best admired while sitting on a bench at the marina pier. The turquoise sea washes up on the small beach dotted with wooden fishing boats, and people wade in the shadow-cast water by the picturesque block of homes perched mere metres away. Cefalù is one of the most beautiful seaside destinations in Sicily. And beyond the marina is the extraordinary beauty of the medieval cathedral, the cobbled streets, hidden arches, and courtyards in which to wander.
Overlooking the sea is Le Calette, a delightful family-run hotel that is the ideal place from which to discover the seduction of Cefalù. There is a certain charm to Le Calette, one that drew Gaia Miccichè back from Paris, where she was working for UNESCO, to run the hotel her grandfather built. “I always knew I would return,” says the thirtysomething marketing manager. “My heart has always been here.” The two-storey whitewashed structure has remained as it was in the 1960s when it opened (when guests would book three-month stays in summer), but the interiors were recently renovated for the modern-day traveller. The white aesthetic continues inside, with rooms and public spaces accented with colourful Sicilian ceramics from the nearby town of Santo Stefano di Camastra, paintings, and sculptures.
The open-plan reception and bar give way to a magnificent terrace with a pool and vistas of the port of Cefalù, where charter boats leave for the Aeolian Islands. A path carved into the rock leads, among countless prickly pears, from the hotel to a true corner of paradise: Caletta Selvaggia, a private cove in unspoiled nature. Hotel Le Calette is a seaside hotel, so a beach club is a must, and Calette Reef Club is a well-equipped one with bar and restaurant. At the gourmet restaurant Cala Luna, chef Dario Pandolfo (who has experience in Michelin-starred kitchens) tells the story of Sicily on a plate, his brilliant cooking a contemporary take.