Walking through Scanno

Scanno and its people have been favorite subjects for photographers, such as Henry Cartier-Bresson, Pietro di Rienzo and Mario Giacomelli.  After leaving the lake area, we walked the sheep through the crooked and stepped streets of this charming medieval hilltown. Here we became the subject of many photographs by both tourists and towns people . Leaving the sheep off in a pasture outside of town, we returned to town for historic tours. We visited a jewelry shop and a museum. We learned that Scanno was renowned for filigreed gold work that imitated the twisting threads of  bobbin lace, another strong craft practiced by women here. Women wore jewelry to bring attention to their faces. Symbolism indicated marriage status and wishes for health and good luck.

A local historian volunteered to give us a tour of the museum and the town. We enjoyed his wonderful gestures as he spoke in Italian. Then we received the translation from Christina. The people from Scanno originally migrated to the area from Turkey. Unique to Scanno, women were in charge because of the long absences of men during the summer transhumanza. We talked to one of the 38 women who still dress in traditional costumes during pageants. Tight pleats in multiple yards of wool form the skirts. For warmth, women carried glowing embers in metal baskets between the two layers of wool skirts. The hats were made to help women carry water or wood on their heads. Many admired the elegant postures of the Scanno women who did not carry loads on their backs.  A typical day for a woman started at 2 am as she gathered wood for the fire then tended children, gardens and various forms of craft or food production. We saw tools and craft items at the local museum. Homes of the wealthy were well protected from bandits. Unsavory characters may be met by hot water poured out of a gargoyle mouth above the door.

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2 responses

  1. I spotted your blog a few days ago and have just had an chance to start reading.

    I admit I’m envious.

    To have the opportunity to travel as part of the transhumanza…sharing in one of Abruzzo’s oldest traditions…a visit to Scanno…

    My list of things to experience in Abruzzo has just increased.

    Thanks for writing and sharing your adventures. Great photos too.

    All the best.

    • Thank you. I just found your blog as well. I will link to it when I write about buses. I had many of my “adventures” trying to make bus connections.

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