Mandralisca Museum (Museo Mandralisca)
The Sicilian town of Cefalù is famous for its magnificent UNESCO-listed Duomo, but the city offers a number of more modest but equally worthwhile attractions. Topping the list is the unique Mandralisca Museum, an eclectic array of art and artifacts that reflect the assorted passions of the baron that created and then donated the collection and its home, Palazzo Mandralisca, to the city. Located just steps from the Duomo, the museum can be easily visited as part of a walking tour of Cefalù’s historic center.
Things to know before you go
- The notations in the museum are in Italian only, but that doesn’t detract from its engaging collection for English speakers.
- Walking tours of Cefalù are largely outdoors, so don’t forget sunscreen and a hat in summer.
- The museum is not accessible to wheelchair users.
- Visitors can browse the museum shop or dine in the in-house restaurant.
How to get there
The Mandralisca Museum is located in Palazzo Mandralisca just below the Duomo in the center of Cefaù. A popular day trip from Palermo, Cefalù has limited parking so joining a guided tour that includes transportation is the most convenient way to visit.
When to get there
Plan your visit to Cefalù for the early morning or late afternoon to the tour bus crowds in midday. The museum is open daily from 9am to 7pm.
Highlights of the Mandralisca Museum
The captivating hodge-podge that forms the Mandralisca collection is housed in two parts, the library and the museum. The latter gathers together archaeological finds unearthed by the baron in excavations on Lipari, a clutch of Renaissance paintings, and antique furniture and decorative object belonging to the aristocratic family. The museum’s crown jewels are a fourth-century-BC vase depicting a tuna seller and the 15th-century Portrait of a Man by Sicilian master Antonello da Messina. The extensive library is also worth a visit, home to sections dedicated to fine art, ornithology, archaeology, and numismatics.