The vast majority of people who visit LORETO are pilgrims, over four million of whom arrive every year to pay their respects at what they believe is the House of the Virgin Mary where Jesus spent his childhood. The house, which made a miraculous journey from Nazareth to Italy, is contained within a huge hilltop basilica visible from miles around. However, away from the religious frenzy, the town, it must be said, has little to offer.

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20 picturesque Christmas destinations

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Discovering Palermo: why you should give Sicily’s capital a chance

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