The history of Il Cefalo Hotel Restaurant is unique as well as the people and the place that characterized it.
One day I asked the founders, my grandparents Luigi Di Luccia and Italia Gallo, to tell me all the real story. My grandfather Luigi became an orphan at the age of 9 and had to leave Ogliastro to go to leave with his aunt. He already knew how to fish because his father and grandfather had been professional fishermen.
When at 17 he came back home in Ogliastro, which was just a little more than a hut built on the seashore, he had learned to be a shoemaker. At the end of the 40s, hunger put a strain on families. In the small village, less than 90 inhabitants, some swapped fish for beans, others wheat for apples. My grandfather, therefore, soon realized that being a shoemaker would not have given him a living. He decided to go back to being a fisherman and after a first experience as a helper on a boat, he bought a gozzo boat and started up his own business. In 1953 my grandfather married my grandmother Italia and on the shores of the hut by the sea the first children were born: my uncles Pasquale, Caterina, Rosalinda and Amalia. Life passed by quietly in the small fishing village, my grandfather fished and gardened, my grandmother took care of children and the house, washing also clothes belonging to financiers in the barracks next door.
In the early 60s, after 3 years without the family allowance paid to fishermen, things turned around. With 900.000 Lire of arrears my grandparents restored part of the house previously destroyed, enlarging and renovating it entirely. And as in any self-respecting story, the emblematic year for the Di Luccia family was 1963. That was the year when both grandparents began to cook for the Pecori and Matarazzo families. Like many others, they had fallen in love with the bay and, during their summer holidays, wanted a local cook to prepare fresh fish and other typical homemade dishes. What Luigi and Italia cooked for their family was perfect for them, so 13 people started to be there for lunch and dinner, 500 Lire per person as compensation.
That summer there was also the latest arrival at home, my father Adolfo.
The project to dedicate themselves to a restaurant and to hosting guests had started. In the following years my grandparents did their best to enlarge even more the house. To reach that goal, my grandfather went to America in 1967 and came back a few years later with some savings. When in 1969 the last daughter, Aunt Laura, was born, the house had already a new kitchen area, a living room and the apartments on the upper floor. In the following years all sons and daughters worked together to improve a business that was really and purely family-run.
Today Il Cefalo is a renovated hotel with an elegant restaurant, a bar with terraces, a private beach and hotel bedrooms overlooking the clear blue sea of the bay.
To my grandparents Luigi and Italia and to my family.
Nicole Di Luccia