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Scanno is a town situated in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. Part of the town falls within the boundaries of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park, the big attraction to the south of Scanno.
As a traditional Italian hill town in a very scenic location - surrounded by the forest covered hills of the Apennines - Scanno is becoming quite established on the tourist trail in the region and is a popular destination in both summer and winter. The town is also a classified most beautiful village of Italy.
Even before you arrive the approach to Scanno is among the highlights of a visit, with the 20 kilometre route from Sulmona passing through the very scenic Sagittarius Gorge and past the peaceful Scanno Lake, a leisure lake where you can hire boats (Scanno Lake becomes very busy during the summer). The road is quite winding so allow a little extra time for the journey!
In Scanno itself, there are numerous alleys and streets to explore in the historic centre of Scanno old town and many ancient houses to discover as you explore. As an added bonus the constant walking up and down the steep cobbled streets will help you build up an appetite for lunch!
There are also a myriad of small churches to visit such as San Rocco church, the Church of Saint Eustace, the Church of San Giovanni Battista, and several others.
The Church of Santa-Maria della Valle is among the most important churches in Scanno, built in the local romanesque style and containing some medieval frescoes and impressive altar, while the Church of San Giovanni Battista contains an interesting selection of religious statues dating from the 17th to the 20th century.
Note: be sure to venture inside the churches of Scanno as you pass them (and elsewhere in Italy) because the most unassuming facades are often found on churches which contain impressive frescoes or statues.
There are also many grand houses (known in Italy as palazzos) to discover around the town, including the Palazzo di Rienzo, the Piazza de Angelis, Palazzo Serafini and Palazzon Mosca with various interesting architectural features of note.
The residents, at least the more elderly among them, also take pride in wearing traditional clothes around the village. Indeed, the original reputation of the village as a tourist destination came about when renowned photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson photographed the residents in Scanno in their traditional clothes in the 1950's.
It is perhaps not surprising that not everyone chooses to wear the traditional clothes - the skirt alone, which is made from the wool that was the main industry in the village for several centuries, weighs more than 10 kilogrammes!
Popular local activities
A chair life operates up the adjacent mountain in both summer and winter, useful for skiers in the winter and walkers or those wanting to admire the scenery during the summer. Scanno Lake is the principal leisure attraction here, and you can hire boats and pedalos, bring a picnic or just enjoy one of the small lake beaches. The setting is very lovely and the trip is worthwhile.
You will also want to visit Sulmona when near to Scanno.
Where is Scanno?
You can find more local travel ideas in the Abruzzo guide.