CEFALA' DIANA

 

Inhabited since 1755, when the Duke Diana received the jus populandi, Cefalà Diana is especially renowned for its Turkish Baths, the only example of this kind in Sicily, dating from the 10th century. In town, it is well-worth making a stop at the ruins of the 1200’s castle, consisting of a solid square tower and fragments of the outer walls. The castle originates from a defensive outpost along the way from Palermo to Agrigento. In the following centuries it was first used as a grain depot until, in the 18th century, it became a noble residence. In the main piazza there is a group of interesting expressive bronze sculptures by a contemporary artist from Corleone, Biagio Governali: the panels of the Door of Miracles of San Francesco di Paola; the War Memorial and Monument to the Emigrants, which is so highly dramatic.

 

The Baths – Situated just over 1km north of town, by the Cefalù river, within their graciously restored complex. The exact date of the baths is still under question although it is certainly pre-1570. The outer buildings probably served to accommodate people afflicted by aches and pains who came to bathe in the hot sulphurous springs to relieve their rheumatism. The brick building has a rectangular plan and consists of a large room enclosed by a fine barrel vault, in the floor of which are three pools – although at one time there was but a larger one. The first section is separated from the elevated rear portion of the room by an elegant screen consisting of an arcade of three raised or Moorish-style arches supported on slender marble columns, terracotta capitals and dosserets (high block, inserted above the abacus). Beyond the screen is another, smaller pool where the hot water bubbling out from the ground was collected before being channelled into the large pool. The vault is punctuated with ventilation holes, while the walls have niches which might have been used by bathers for their discarded clothes.