Private Italy tours: discover Scanno, Abruzzo


The small mountain village of Scanno, Abruzzo is a hidden gem that can be explored on one of our private Italy tours.

private Italy tours
View of Scanno

One of the most beautiful villages in Italy and among the most photographed in the country, Scanno has retained its traditional charm throughout centuries. The best way to discover this little gem is to get lost in its winding cobbled streets with worn down stone steps and glimpses of the stunning mountains that you can catch between the old buildings. Surprisingly for its minute size, Scanno has plenty of stunning architecture: elegant 16th-18th century palaces with carved angels, putti, columns and cornices built by rich local families. One of the typical features of the buildings are pretty arches and stunning loggias, so make sure to keep your head up. Check out the 16th century small fountain Fontana Sarracco and the 18th century Fontana Pisciarello where women used to do their laundry in the old days.

private Italy tours
Fontana Sarracco

Scanno is one of very few places in Italy where older women still wear traditional attire daily. Although, it has been simplified to a large dark skirt sitting above the waist, shoulder shawl and a headscarf tied at the back, it still echoes the old days. With ours private Italy tours you can follow the steps of the famous French photographer Henry Cartier-Bresson. He visited the village in the 1950s, when most local women were still sporting traditional outfits, and took some amazing pictures of the locals. Younger people in Scanno dress in brighter, more elaborate folk costumes once or twice a year for festivals or, sometimes, a wedding. The best time to spot old ladies in their traditional garb is on a Sunday before or after the morning mass at the Santa Maria della Valle church on the central piazza.

private Italy tours
Scanno Lake

Scanno is well known for its traditional hand-crafted gold jewellery that you can buy from the local goldsmiths, hand-made lace, and, naturally, delicious food. At the Biscotteria artigianale di Liliana Rosati (Via Silla, 47) you will find mouth-watering mostaccioli and amaretti biscuits freshly baked to ancient traditional recipes. Alla Fonte restaurant (Via Fontana Saracco) serves hearty dishes (try their gnocchi with wild greens). Another great place to enjoy the local cuisine is the tiny restaurant La Porta (Via Ciorla, 31) where you can sample pasta with chickpeas (pasta e ceci), polenta with traditional sausage and rabbit stew.

Make time to visit the nearby heart-shaped Scanno lake for a refreshing summer dip.

Photos by: Anna Lebedeva, Alberto Vaccaro, Rob Butner.