Scanno, how to get there and what to see
Scanno is one of the most beautiful villages in Abruzzo. It is a small village where there are so many things to see that you need to spend at least a couple of days there to visit it all. This without taking into consideration the magnificent surrounding region which is so rich with parks that it is nicknamed "the green lung of Europe"
Near Scanno, and in Abruzzo in general, there are three national parks, one regional park and 38 nature reserves. In total, the protected area in Abruzzo represents around 30% of the territory of the entire region. There is the historical park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise (founded in 1923), the Gran Sasso park and the Monte-della Laga or Maiella park, the Sirente-Velino regional park and numerous regional and national reserves.
Local guides and tour operators offer a wide range of itineraries for all tastes: long excursions, horse riding, mountain biking and skiing on any level. You can choose from a simple excursion to extreme sports and there are also many routes for the disabled.
Also near Scanno there is a great variety of of all kinds of tourist services that manage to bring color any holiday and making it truly unique.
The best thing is that almost all of the services do not cost a lot and are accessible for all budgets.
It is impossible to ignore taking a glance at the magical surrounding areas that are submerged in nature containing its secrets, legends and mysteries. Obviously, near Scanno there is a wide range of other ancient towns that we can visit, but Scanno always represents one of those pearls that will welcome us while allowing us to get caught up in its long history... and above all, in its magic.
What to see in Scanno?
The village of Scanno is included on the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy. It has Roman roots and was constructed in the Middle Ages. This is evidenced by the numerous historical monuments of this place. The history behind this village is very long and quite particular. While visiting thid town it is impossible to miss the National Park, also because a small part of the town is located there.
In Scanno it is worth seeing almost everything: from the traditional costumes that the women of the city used, to the lake, the museums, the historical buildings, and lastly, the churches.
The numerous events
On January 17th during the feast of Saint Anthony, the ceremony for the distribution of a special homemade pasta takes place. On Good Friday, instead, the ancient ceremonies of the Passion take place with a procession of hooded people. On June 13th the feast of Saint Anthony is held where redemption ceremonies and a procession of mules takes place. And in summer, a wide range of cultural events are organized.
Borgo dei Fotografi
Scanno is often labeled as the Borgo dei Fotografi, as its streets have often been the subject for a large range of professionals. Not surprisingly, there is also "via dei fotografi” which has a view from which it is possible to admire an amazing panorama. This street, however, is not the only enchanting wonder of this village. On the contrary it is only the frame of a noteworthy historical and artistic heritage.
A piece of advice: once in Scanno do not rush your stay. Indeed, the greatest pleasure of the visit is taking slow walks along the paths that cross the main areas. Also to be absolutely admired are the wrought iron balconies that distinguish the streets of this urban center. In addition, you will also find a great variety of Baroque portals. All of these elements characterize Scanno and make it special: it is one of the most appreciated medieval villages not only in Abruzzo, but also throughout the rest of Italy.
The Church of Santa Maria della Valle
While taking a slow walk, it is possible to stop and admire the buildings for which Scanno is today well-known for. Among these, for example, is the legendary Church of Santa Maria della Valle. It is a religious building that is located in the central square of the village and has a very tall bell tower which is easily visible from practically every corner of the town.
Unfortunately, the history of this building is not well-known. There are many stories and legends that surround it. It has been restored many times, but there are still some details that demonstrate that it belonged to the 12th century. There are many restorative works in progress and it is difficult to identify the parts that date back to the original structure. The changes can also be admired thanks to the presence of a wide range of pillars.
The church houses a wide range of decorations and is divided into three naves. The red decorations clearly contrast with the white ones.
Fountain of the Ceto Sociale
The well-known Fontana Sarracco cannot be ignored. It is located in Largo Bergia and it is a fairly large fountain that includes two bases and two arches: it measures 7 meters high and 5 meters long.
Like the above mentioned church, the Sarracco Fountain also had to deal with numerous historical vicissitudes and its construction was renovated over and over again. Moreover, it carries a noteworthy story. It is often labeled as the "Fountain of the Social Class" because on its left arch it houses 5 spouts for drinking (each of these with a coat of arms representing the social class to which it belongs). Looking at the spouts we can see the crest of the King where all of the noble males could drink; the canal that features the queen, however, was reserved for all of the noble women; the coat of arms depicting the clog indicated the canal reserved for workers; the coat of arms with the friar meant that canal was destined for the members of the ecclesiastical community: nuns, friars, wayfarers and beggars. The fifth canal of the fountain is the lowest and is without coat of arms reserved for the children.
The church of Sant’Eustachio
Another church must absolutely be seen is Sant 'Eustachio. It is undoubtedly the oldest religious building in Scanno. It is named after the patron saint of the village and the Madonna of Loreto. It was built on the ruins of an older temple which - according to local historians - was dedicated in honor of the god Pan. It was built on the highest point of the town and it contains many traditional local traditions, including one that deals with the ordination of parish priests: even today the priests are first ordained here and only afterwards at the other church called Santa Maria della Valle.
Scanno, however, is not only a village rich with churches but also with museums. One of these is the Wool Museum, also called "The People's Museum": it houses all the memories of the village from ancient instruments to many particular objects. If you visit it you will understand how people lived there in the first decade of the twentieth century, but you will also be able to admire the current traditions. Among the various particular objects housed there you will find the traditional Scanno skirt which roughly weighs 15 kilograms.
The magic of food and goldsmith shops
Another thing to definitely see are the typical craft shops. These goldsmiths use accessories and tools that date back about a hundred years ago even today. Let’s not forget about the gastronomic shops which allow visitors the chance to taste the typical local dishes.
The local goldsmiths make truly special jewels which have become typical of Scanno such as a bracelet that - thanks to a quick gesture - can easily become a ring. The whole bracelet is composed of a large range of golden circles and includes a peculiar closure. Its history is long: it seems it was commissioned by a count who secretly loved a princess... Scanno's excellent food, on the other hand, includes the Pan dell'Orso (traditional of the area): a cake prepared with 3 different types of flour, honey, lemon, orange, and sugar. It is worth trying it at the local pastry shops where you can also find numerous other exquisite desserts. Among the most famous are the mostaccioli (prepared with almonds and sponge cake) which are covered with a sugar glaze that melts in your mouth, or with dark chocolate.
How to get to Scanno?
Reaching Scanno is not difficult: you must simply arrive to Abruzzo and follow the road near the Gorges of Sagittarius and Villalago which leads to Lake Scanno and the nearby Hermitage of San Domenico. You can also reach this village by car; in its immediate vicinity there are very different trekking routes. However, there is no risk of getting lost: there is one road and it is easily passable.
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