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The city is located on a hill in the center of Sicily, which rises abruptly from the sea. The town was founded by Elymians around 1000 BC. In AD 1020 it became seat of an independent Lombard principality under one Asclettin, but in 1130 Roger II conquered it and made Cefalù part of his Norman Kingdom of Sicily. It subsequently followed the history of southern Italy: ruled by Aragonese and Spanish viceroys (15th century), then briefly occupied by Austria during Napoleon's invasion (1798–99). After a period as an autonomous duchy under Joachim Murat's rule, it joined with other provinces to form part of Giuseppe Garibaldi's Italian kingdom for four years (1860–64).