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Cefalu
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Cefalu Italy

Oscar-winning film 'Cinema Paradiso' immortalised the small-town charms of Cefalù, a coastal village in northeast Sicily. Although the area's once-quiet allure has long been replaced by heavy resort crowds, there's still plenty of beauty and leisurely pleasures to be found in its medieval-era architecture, craggy coastline and picturesque beach.

Cefalù Cathedral tops the list of Cefalù's must-see attractions. Built by a Norman king, the church features 12th-century Romanesque architecture, a column-supported nave and some of Italy's most well-preserved mosaics on both its exterior and interior. A more unique remnant of Cefalù's past can be found at the Lavatoio. Reached via a winding stone staircase, this tiered collection of wash basins was once used by women during the Middle Ages to wash and bathe.

The beauty of Cefalù isn't lost on its steady influx of visitors, who come to hike the scenic coast and cool off at the main beach – considered one of Sicily's best. The half-moon-shaped stretch of sand is sandwiched by a promenade and the glittering Mediterranean Sea, where more adventurous types take to sailing and snorkelling. Alternatively, hikes up to La Rocca – a rocky outcrop home to megalithic and medieval ruins – will reward you with panoramic views of land and sea.

The best way to get an overview of Cefalù is by taking a walk through its medieval town centre, whose streets are closed to cars. Corso Ruggero, the main strip, is lined with restaurants and shops and provides great opportunities for sightseeing and people-watching.

 

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