Are you leaving to Abruzzo? Let’s discover Scanno together, a wonderful medieval village surrounded by nature famous for its heart-shaped lake.
In the heart of the Apennines, far from the craze of the cities and immersed in the breathtaking natural landscape of the National Park of Abruzzo, there is a true hidden gem: Scanno, a fascinating medieval village capable of enchanting visitors with its paved streets, its stone houses and, above all, a heart-shaped lake nestled between the mountains that looks like a fairytale.
Scanno is much more than a tourist destination like the others, it is an authentic journey back in time between eras, stories and traditions of the past - an extraordinary subject for the art of photography, as we’ll see - and an ideal earthly paradise for those who wish to venture into unique hiking experiences in the beautiful natural setting of the region. Join us and leave right away for this new adventure discovering Scanno and the wonders of Abruzzo!
What to see in Scanno: a magical walk through the village's alleys
Scanno is one of the most beautiful and genuine examples when it comes to characteristic villages of the Italian Middle Age, enclosing a fascinating atmosphere that takes visitors to distant times, rather than to real fairytale places.
If you are wondering what to see in Scanno during your walk in the village, then you are in the right place! Here you can admire numerous historic churches and buildings up close, which we will cover in detail in a moment; in the meantime, give yourself some time to wander in awe through the picturesque alleys of this mountain town, exploring the truest soul of this land among the many handcraft shops, dedicated above all to jewelery and bobbin lace, and the iconic Museo della Lana (Wool Museum), an interesting exhibition space which tells, through finds and above all photographs, the traditional pastoral life lived here in Scanno, with particular reference to the period 1845-1950 - in fact the museum also hosts Fototeca d'Abruzzo (Abruzzo Photo Gallery) and the Virtual Museum of Photography.
Churches of Scanno
Facade of Santa Maria della Valle; interior of Sant'Antonio da Padova; Source: Wikipedia; Author: Alessiocav
The area of Scanno is very rich in churches and religious structures, belonging to different periods and built in different styles, witnessing of the passage of history in this village in the heart of Abruzzo.
The church of Santa Maria della Valle, which mixes the beauty of Romanesque and Baroque art, is the most important in Scanno, a symbol of the town with its iconic bell tower, dating back to the sixteenth century, and its rich collection of sacred art kept inside among frescoes, canvases and sculptures. Other noteworthy churches are those dedicated to San Rocco, dating back to the seventeenth century and the subject of many photographs; the Sant'Eustachio one, patron saint of Scanno, which hosts a beautiful statue of the saint; and the Sant'Antonio da Padova one, characterized by a luxurious Baroque art interior.
Particular mention should be dedicated to two super suggestive churches to visit here in Scanno: the sanctuary of the Annunziata, or Madonna del Lago, which stands right on the banks of the famous heart-shaped lake; and the hermitage of Sant'Egidio, located in an isolated position on a hill between the village and the lake.
Historic buildings and portals of Scanno
Scanno is also the ideal place for those who hunt for the most beautiful photographs to take of the most evocative corners of the village, discovering fascinating historic buildings, arches and portals.
Among the most important ones in Scanno we certainly mention Palazzo Di Rienzo, a majestic building on four levels characterized by a fascinating inlaid wooden portal and the so-called Case Roncone, a loggia with three-light window, arch and underpass richly decorated and often chosen as the favorite subject for the photographs that distinguish the postcards from the village; Palazzo De Angelis, Palazzo Mosca and Palazzo Serafini-Ciancarelli are also noteworthy, each one showing highly valuable decorations enriching their portals and facades.
As for the arches to find in town, in addition to that of the Case Roncone, we suggest you visit also the arches of Croce, Nocella and Zazzarotta.
Where is Lake Scanno, the iconic heart-shaped lake in Abruzzo
Here we are now at ultimate the tourist destination of this village: Lake Scanno, famous for its romantic and impressive heart shape.
Lake Scanno is located in the territory of the National Park of Abruzzo, nestled between the Marsican Mountains in the upper valley of the Sagittario river. It is located North of Scanno and it is possible to explore its lush nature enjoying amazing views to photograph by following the Sentiero del Cuore (Heart Path), a trekking route leading to the most breathtaking panoramic point in the area!
What to do in Scanno: enjoy your visit by hiking and photography
At this point you may be wondering what to do in Scanno and its surroundings to best enjoy your trip to Abruzzo; well, here you certainly won't get bored venturing to discover wonderful places immersed in the most vibrant nature and other fascinating villages that characterize the identity of the region. Little tip: don't forget to bring a good camera with you, there will be many chances to take stunning photographs!
Hiking is certainly the most interesting activity to do near Scanno. In fact, in addition to the aforementioned heart-shaped lake and its hiking route, to do on foot or even by bicycle for the more experienced adventurers, the area offers many interesting attractions: the semi-abandoned village of Frattura, which rises near the lake and hosts a very few tens inhabitants; the exploration of Mount Genzana, which silently observes the valley where the lake is located; the uphill march to Terratta's peak, at over 2000 m above sea level; or a visit to the wonderful nature reserve of the Gole del Sagittario (Gorges of Sagittario river), further North, a true sight to admire the tricks of river waters in a fantastic natural setting.
Scanno, the small capital of photography: not only the heart-shaped lake
One of the most interesting characteristics of Scanno concerns its relationship with the art of photography. This beautiful village in Abruzzo, in fact, over the years has earned the nickname of the city of photographers thanks to the success achieved by some historical photographs taken in its evocative landscape and cultural setting.
Above all, the 1950s were the most important for the triumph of photography in Scanno: in fact, in those years the alleys of the village welcomed and inspired the artistic spirit of one of the great world masters of the discipline such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, author of some truly unique photos (one of his pieces on the right of the image), as well as our Mario Giacomelli, author of the iconic Scanno Boy (on the left), which even boasts an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1964.
These beautiful works of art demonstrate all the magic of a special location in Scanno: a true small capital of photography that identifies the deepest side of this land and its people.
The traditional female dress of Scanno
The traditional female dress of Scanno is one of the most iconic cultural symbols of the village and of the whole of Abruzzo, a significant detail that gives local women a regal posture and aesthetic.
The dress also represents a true celebration of local craftsmanship and raw materials and consists first of all of a wide fabric skirt embellished with golden embroidery, covered in front by a white linen apron with lace; the bodice is also very important, also decorated with lace on the neck closure, which covers a hand-embroidered white shirt with very wide sleeves with pleats at the wrists and shoulders and fastened on the front with a single row of buttons; finally there is the headdress, the most peculiar element of this dress, made with different types and colors of silk depending on some factors, in particular distinguishing everyday life from special occasions such as religious holidays, weddings or grief.
The historical and cultural importance of the female dress of Scanno, still today the object of study to identify its origins in detail, is also demonstrated by the presence of a fascinating themed statue in the village, a particularly appreciated subject for iconic photographic shots to be taken Scanno!
How to get to Scanno
The car is the recommended way to get to Scanno, in particular starting from:
- L'Aquila: follow the A24 to Torano, then on the A25 to Cocullo and finally to Scanno;
- Pescara: take the A25 to Cocullo and then continue following the signs for Scanno;
- Rome: take the A24 to Torano, on the border between Lazio and Abruzzo, then continue on the A25 towards Pescara until Cocullo and drive South towards Scanno.
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A small itinerary from Marsica to Ciociaria: from Scanno to Anagni, pt. 1
How wonderful Scanno, uh? But we are sure that you are still looking for new beautiful adventures to live in Italy: well, fortune smiles on you! We thought about suggesting you something special: a small travel itinerary that unites two lands, Marsica and Ciociaria, from one hidden gem to another discovering Anagni.
To get to Anagni from Scanno by car it is necessary to drive on the SR479 North to reach the motorway junction, continuing from here (Cocullo) on the A25 in the direction of Avezzano. Exiting here, continue on the SS690 South to Sora, then on the SR124 to Frosinone and finally on the SR6 up to your destination.
Once the journey to Anagni is over, enjoy a visit to the historic city of the popes - check out our article here! - and find out everything you need to best enjoy your visit. And obviously don't forget to book your access ticket to the museum of the Anagni Cathedral: click the button below!
Itinerary from Scanno to Anagni, pt. 2
Strolling around the alleys of Anagni and admiring its wonderful historic buildings, full of charm, culture and stories to tell, now you really want to visit at least one on the inside, right? We have what's perfect for you: book now your ticket to access the Boniface VIII Palace by clicking on the button below!