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The village in black and white


11 maggio 2023

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4 min

  • Borghi più belli d’Italia
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  • Comuni d’Abruzzo
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Fotografia di Enrico Sarchione


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You will breathe an atmosphere of wonder as soon as you drive up the winding road that climbs through the Sagittarius Gorge Regional Nature Reserve. It is of outstanding scenic beauty and great natural interest, the view that opens first to the lake, with its distinctive heart shape that makes it unique and unmistakable and the village perched on a rocky outcrop of Mount Carapale will take your breath away. 

The ancient village is characterized by the glance created by the houses so close together that they seem to be embraced, the alleys and stepped streets overlooked by splendid fountains and stately palaces, adorned with rich portals, arches, columns, and three-mullioned windows, which testify to the affluence of the past, derived from pastoral activity.
The historic centre must have existed as early as Roman times and, over the centuries, it has been the fiefdom of great southern families such as the Counts of Valva (later di Sangro), the d'Aquinos, the d'Avalos, the De Pascales, the D'Afflittos, and finally the Caracciolos
The traditional ability to amaze is a memory of the women's costume, even today a source of pride for the wearer, which spread between the 17th and 19th centuries with the rise of the art of dyeing. This is the skill of Scanno’s women in warping and weaving, known throughout the Kingdom of Naples, by the ancient forms of craftsmanship (goldsmithing, bobbin lace making), which still produce enchanting creations today. 
The deep sense of faith in the churches nestled among ancient plasterwork, the arches, and the silence of some views have composed a mosaic of uniqueness, making Scanno one of Italy's Most Beautiful Villages.

Wandering through the alleys of the centre, you will not be surprised by the suggestion of courtyards (such as that of the architecturally significant Palazzo Tanturri de Horatio, rich in refined details), rose windows, inscriptions and frescoes (the Madonna Enthroned in the small church of St. Mary of Constantinople is splendid), which suddenly appear. 
These timeless atmospheres, the white stones and the characteristic female figures appearing in the traditional black costumes, as if fresh from period pictures, have made Scanno one of the most immortalized places, fixed over the years on the negatives of great masters of photography, such as Hilde Lotz-Bauer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Mario Giacomelli and others.

There are so many wonders to visit and admire.

  • The Church Santa Maria della Valle, structured in 1568 on the medieval Church of St. Mary of Scanno
  • The former Church of the Purgatory or Anime Sante, probably built in the late 17th century, home of the Guido Calogero Auditorium
  • The Sarracco Fountain, consisting of two arched bodies made in several stages
  • The Wool Museum 
  • The Moscow Palace
  • The Church of St. Roch or Our Lady of Mount Carmel 
  • The Church of St. Eustace and St. Mary of Loreto, recorded in a chorographic bull of 1188;
  • Palazzo Di Rienzo, whose present layout is the result of the merger of the ancient feudal palace of the D'Afflitto and Caracciolo families. Curious is the facade of the house facing the palace, whose openings are distributed as if it was a human face, as a sign of mockery toward the powerful Di Rienzo family
  • The Church of St. John the Baptist, the construction of which may date back to the first half of the 16th century
  • The Nocella Arch, the origin of which may date back to the fifteenth-century expansion of the settlement but, like many other passages, the hypothesis of an eighteenth-century construction to link buildings together is not ruled out
  • The Gate of the Cross, probably built in the 15th century during the southward expansion of the town as a gateway to the town, the only one remaining after the demolition of the ancient town wall
  • The Church of St. Anthony Abbot 
  • The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, built in the first half of the 1700s by the Scolopians
  • The Madonna of the Lake

The local gastronomy is characterized by simple and genuine ingredients. In the winter there are j frescheriell, a type of white polenta mixed with beans, cabbage, savoy cabbage and potatoes. Famous, from the Easter period, is ju zuppettone, a soup with kid or lamb broth, eggs and pecorino cheese. The most representative desserts are undoubtedly ju mastacciuole (mostacciolo) and manzule ratterrate.


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Last updated

20/02/2024, 11:57

Published by AbruzzoTurismo