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Cefalu'   Fishing village  

The element that perhaps best characterizes Cefalù is the promontory overlooking the sea that dominates it. The sea also gave the residents of Cefalù (known as Cifalutani in the Sicilian dialect) its long beaches that span out along the gulf and the bays of Aranciotto and Settefrati with its seven tall rocks. Legend has it that these rocks are actually the petrified bodies of seven brothers that perished in a failed attempt to save a beautiful woman. Other than being rich with natural beauty, Cefalù is a treasure chest overflowing with history, of which it has left numerous traces. The walls of the city that still stand in front of the sea date back to the Hellenistic-Roman period. In the Byzantine period, as was the case with many other coastal cities, the city withdrew towards the promontory in order to better defend itself. However, the Arabs managed to conquer it just the same and continued to rule up to the beginning of the XI century when the Normans wiped them out and moved the town closer to the sea. The traces of the Normans are so numerous that, not coincidentally, Cefalù is called the Norman Town. The most important building is certainly the cathedral dating back to the XII century; it´s believed that is construction was commissioned by King Roger II, after he washed up miraculously on its shores after escaping a storm.. Fishing and seafaring have always been part of the town´s history: for centuries both fishing and farming were the principle professions. This is made evident by the most important holiday, the Saint´s Feast day dedicated to St. Salvatore, to whom the cathedral is consecrated. This Saint´s day is on the sixth of August with a traditional 'ntinna a mare a skilled competition in which competitors climb around a greasy pole. In more recent times the blue fish festival that takes place in September has become an annual tradition. Of the many fish specialities that the local Cefalù cuisine has to offer, we would like to highlight a dish known as alici della duchessa (anchovies of the duchess), a sauce made with anchovies, white bread, garlic, onion, parsley, oil and vinegar spread on a slice of bread, with perhaps a touch of butter.

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