Lake of Scanno
Scanno is an amazing place, literally nestled in the upper Valle del Sagittario (Sagittarius Valley), where there is a natural steep-sided canyon surrounded by a lush and verdant scenery. You only need to take a stroll through the town centre while admiring the richly decorated stone gates to understand why this village has been photographed so much in the last century. The intricate web of alleys and its inhabitants, especially women dressed in black, have been captured by the greatest photographers of all time, from Henri Cartier Bresson to Ferdinando Scianna and Mario Giacomelli.
The attractions of the village, which seems to have frozen in time, are still intact: the courtyard of 17th century Palazzo Tanturri de Horatio and the fresco depicting the Madonna Enthroned with Child in the small Church of Santa Maria di Costantinopoli. Today, only one of the four gates of the ancient city walls still stands: Porta della Croce, which dates back to the 15th century. The architectural style of the buildings is unusually harmonious, with a distinctive urban layout, featuring leaning houses, alleys and stairways that merge to form elegant steps, and the old entrance gateway. There are many noble buildings and middle-class residences such as Palazzo Mosca, with its magnificent Baroque gate and cornice adorned with cherubs that bear witness to its 16th century origin, as well as Palazzo di Rienzo and Palazzo de Angelis.
There is always something in the maze of alleys that will attract your attention: a Baroque-style fountain, a mascaron, a rose window, a coat of arms or an inscription. The art of embroidery and bobbin lace-making has also flourished in the village; in fact, the lace shops are a major tourist attraction.
Scanno, the ancient settlement of the Samnites, was already known to the Romans, especially by the wealthiest who were drawn to the wonders of this area, as we can see from a Latin tombstone at the local Museo della Lana (Wool Museum). Due to its geographical location, well sheltered by the mountains, it was long protected from barbarian invasions. However, it was invaded by the Saracens and Ottomans, and it was during this period that Scanno absorbed Oriental elements that can still be found in the traditional clothing of the local women: the hat resembles a turban and the drapery of the clothing features oriental patterns.
The traditional women’s costume of Scanno, now worn only on special occasions, is also interesting for its embellishments: the local jewellery, such as “presentosa” and “l’amorino,” is made with special crafting techniques and gold and silver filigree processing.