A popular tourist destination, SCANNO is reached by passing through the narrow and rocky Gole del Sagittario, a WWF reserve that makes a spectacular drive along galleries of rock and around blind hairpin bends that widen out at the glassy green Lago di Scanno. Perched over the lake is a church, the Madonna del Lago, with the cliff as its back wall, and nearby there are boats and pedaloes for rent in the summer.
A couple of kilometres beyond, Scanno itself is a well-preserved medieval village encircled by mountains. In 1951, Henri Cartier-Bresson photographed the village, in a series of atmospheric shots focusing on the traditional dress worn by Scanno’s women. Some elderly women can still be seen wearing the long, dark, pleated skirts and bodices with a patterned apron that suggest a possible origin in Asia Minor; the annual Costume di Scanno festival in April sees the locals taking to the streets in their finery. Scannese jewellery also has something of the Orient about it – large, delicately filigreed earrings, and a charm in the form of a star, known as a presuntosa, given to fiancées to ward off other men. If you want to see the costume and jewellery at close quarters head for the shops on Strada Roma and Corso Centrale.