Where to eat in Scanno. A journey through the cuisine of the Abruzzo village

Jul 13 2021, 12:28 | by Michela Becchi
In the province of L'Aquila in Abruzzo, the Valle del Sagittario is a valley that has always attracted tourists from all over for its beautiful landscapes. Among the villages bordering the valley, Scanno, the city of photographers, is a must-see place for nature and good food lovers.

Scanno, the jewel of Abruzzo

With its ancient traditions, flavours and fragrances, talking about Abruzzo means telling about a multi-faceted region, united but fragmented in its customs, dialects and even at the table. And it is precisely in its diversity that lies the strength of the region that characterises it today, making it a unique tourist destination, especially for foreigners. Today we discover Scanno, one of the region's jewels, reachable through a winding scenic road, mountains, woods and lush forests: the gole (gorges) del Sagittario. Here, during the twentieth century, Hilde Lotz-Bauer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Mario Giacomelli and many others stopped to capture its charm, and it is no coincidence that it is also called the 'city of photographers'.

Find out more about the Abruzzo village Scanno

Scanno among churches and paths

The best way to explore it is to get lost in its narrow streets, steep stairways and cobbled lanes, stopping at every corner and most characteristic view. Also worth a visit is the Chiesa della Madonna del Lago, an early 18th-century church overlooking the lake, famous for its characteristic heart shape, and the Chiesa della Madonna della Valle in the historic centre, also known as the Church of the Assunta, dating from the 12th century but restored several times following the earthquakes that shook the village. A visit to the Eremo di Sant'Egidio, a hermitage on the hill of the same name, is a must for a picturesque walk: a green spot lost between Scanno and the lake, entirely dominated by the Romanesque-style church built in the 17th century dedicated to the saint that, according to the Scanno inhabitants, performed the miracle of having freed the village from the plague in 1656. Not far away is located the Sentiero del Cuore (heart trail) which leads to the only spot from which it is possible to admire the lake from above, created by a landslide on the Mount Genzana.

Traditions: agro-pastoral activity, weaving and goldsmithing

A land of workers, Scanno has always boasted a series of centuries-old traditions. Pastoralism holds the lion's share with wool processing, leather tanning and cheesemaking. Weaving also plays a major role: if you are lucky, in the streets of the village it is possible to meet ladies dressed in period costumes, made up of flounced skirts, aprons and white bobbin lace collars, embroidered with a very thin cotton thread. Another speciality is handmade jewellery of the village's goldsmiths, run by families who have been handing down the secrets of the ancient goldsmith's art for generations.

Find out more about the Abruzzo village Scanno

The products of Scanno: Gregorio's cheeses

A no-frills, old-fashioned cuisine, simple and welcoming like the locals. The jewel in the crown of local cheese production is the Bio Agriturismo Valle Scannese in Le Prata, a family-run business by Gregorio Rotolo. Around 1,500 sheep, 40 cows and 100 goats graze freely in the fields of the organic farm, opened by Gregorio's father in 1970. The production includes around 25 different cheeses, from ricotta to the many variations of pecorino, among which the Gregoriano stands out: a soft cheese made with raw sheep's milk and the rennet-free 'lactic coagulation' production technique, which uses exclusively the natural milk enzymes or inoculated by the cheesemaker.

Find out more about the Abruzzo village Scanno

Where to eat in Scanno

The past traditions are then translated into delicious dishes to be tasted in local restaurants. You can start with La Fonte for an aperitif, a wine bar with kitchen where you can sample well-cooked dishes, but above all excellent products: artisan bread, fine cold cuts and cheeses to be accompanied by a good bottle of wine. For a typical dinner, stop off at Il Vecchio Mulino, a simple and genuine trattoria, or at La Porta, one of the best expressions of local cuisine. The truth is that eating well in Scanno is not difficult: there are many restaurants to choose from, but for a different experience we suggest the farm restaurant Da Gregorio, where you can taste the house specialities cooked directly by the family. Children, on the other hand, can have fun and play with horses at Il Ranch, a restaurant with an adjoining riding stable surrounded by greenery to stop for a barbecue or a good pasta dish.

Find out more about the Abruzzo village Scanno

The pastry shop: dry biscuits and pan dell’orso (bear's bread)

Scanno boasts interesting pastry shops as well: since 1990 Biscotteria artigianale di Liliana Rosati has been enchanting tourists with delicious homemade pastries. The shop is small but you don't need to see the sign to understand what it's all about: the smell of cocoa, almonds and cooked must attracts passers-by from all over. You can't miss a stop then at Pan dell'Orso, a pastry shop run by the Di Masso brothers that offers all the typical products, from mostaccioli (biscuits made with cooked must and almonds) to ferratelle (crispy wafers cooked on a special griddle). The house speciality is pan dell'orso, a small cake invented by father Liborio who revisited the recipe of a family friend: a small, soft sweet bread made with almonds, honey and dairy butter, covered with a delicate chocolate icing.


Where to eat

Il Vecchio Mulino - via Mario Silla, 50 -  www.facebook.com/Trattoria-Pizzeria-Il-Vecchio-Mulino-164847260192667/

La Porta - via Ciorla, 31 -  www.facebook.com/pages/Ristorante-La-Porta-Scanno/164120520330296

Il Ranch -  località Le Prata - www.ilranchscanno.it/

Bio Agriturismo Valle Scannese - località Valle Scannese -  www.vallescannese.com

La Fonte - via Fontana Sarracco, 3 - facebook.com/Alla-Fonte-Enoteca-1938232979781343/ 

Pan dell’Orso - viale del Lago, 20 -  www.dimassoscanno.net/

Where to shop

Biscotteria Artigianale di Liliana Rosati – Scanno - via Mario Silla, 47

Cocco Attività Storica - largo C. Bergia, 1 - facebook.com/coccoscanno

Bio Agriturismo Valle Scannese - località Valle Scannese - www.vallescannese.com

Negozio Gregorio Rotolo – via Abrami, 21 – facebook.com/Bioagriturismovallescannese

Where to stay

Park Hotel - Scanno - viale della Riviera, 6 - www.parkhotelscanno.it/

Grotta dei Colombi - viale dei Caduti, 64 - www.grottadeicolombi.it

Hotel Miramonti - via Domenico di Rienzo, - www.albergomiramontiscanno.it

Bio Agriturismo Valle Scannese - località Valle Scannese - www.vallescannese.com

by Michela Becchi

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