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Scanno Lake and Reserva Gole del Sagittario – Easter in Abruzzo. Part 2.


We started Easter Sunday with a close-up view of Scanno Lake (Lago di Sanno). The day was windy and rainy, not the best for walking, but I believe you can have a good time regardless of the weather. The lake, judging by the infrastructure, must be a very popular place. There is a bar, a restaurant, and a picnic area. You can ride a bike or a rickshaw there, and of course, walk. You can also swim in Scanno Lake, (the maximum depth is 36m) but if you want to enjoy the lake without swimming, you can rent a pedal boat.


blue and green pedal boats at the lake. In the background there's an old building and mountains
Lake do Sanno.

Lovers of architecture/religion/sacred art can visit a wee church by the lake. It’s really small and interesting inside. 

Small building standing on the shore of the lake.
The church.

From Scanno Lake we walked to Anversa degli Abruzzi to see an old mill Il Mulino.

Surprise, the mill was closed to visitors even though it should have been open. It’s a strange mania in Italy, or at least in the southern part. So-called tourist attractions are often closed during opening hours. And zero information on why, when it’s really open, whether opening hours really exist.

swift stream flows between the green plants and the wall of the building
Il Mulino from outside.


From the mill, you can drop into the woods where there is a way to San Domenico Lake (Lago di San Domenico). We decided to hike to the lake, but unfortunately, the path was closed. Disappointed, as we were hoping for a nice walk, at some moment we saw a herd of roedeers and deers! These beautiful and timid animals ran away when they heard us, but we spotted them again.

deer eating grass among dry trees
The deers we saw in the forest.


Tiptoeing, keeping our breath, and trying not to make any noises, we were standing for a while taking pictures and looking at these beauties.

We decided to get to Lake di San Domenico by car.

And it was probably a better option, because  the wievs along the way are gorgeous!

San Domenico Lake is a part of the  Riserva Gole del Sagittario.

It’s a protected region and oasis of the WWF Italy.  It’s a place definitely worth visiting. It includes very different environments eg. limestone cliffs and screes, arid meadows, the mesophilous forest at the bottom of the valley, or the beech forest. 

Lago di sam domenico
Lake San Domenico.


The diversity of the environment helps to maintain diversity in the animal world. If you’re lucky, you can see the brown bear, the wolf, the Apennine chamois, the roe deer, the deer, and the wild boar. The roe deers are not so difficult to meet actually. There’re also porcupines, wild cats, martens, stone martens, foxes, skunks, badgers, and hedgehogs. Birdwatchers will be in paradise, as Gole del Sagitario is home to the golden eagle, the peregrine falcon, the chough, the crag swallow, the solitary sparrow, the wallcreeper, the rock partridge and the redstart, the goshawk, the honey buzzard, and emery.

view of the lake connected by a bridge located among the mountains
Lago di San Domenico and the hermitage. 


Lake San Domenico itself is beautiful. Even if the main attraction there is the hermitage of San Domenico, the lake is perfect if you want to immerse yourself in nature.

There are numerous paths in the surrounding forests on the hills. If you don’t want to climb, there is a place for a picnic and paths along the lake. But still, I would suggest climbing at least to the viewpoint to see the lake from above. Beautiful view.

Panorama of the lake lying among the mountains whose shores are connected by a stone bridge.Lago di San Domenico seen from above.


The next stop was in Pesscassiroli.

The town is just like many iother towns in Abruzzo: stone houses, some of them abandoned and destroyed, a lot of stairs, empty streets, and  decent borgo.



At first glance, nothing particularly interesting, but it turned out that the first impression was wrong. But to find out, we had to climb the old tower. Actually, the tower was the goal of the climb, we wanted to see it inside, but of course it was closed. However, the view from the top was amazing. Below was Gole del Sagittario with San Domenico Lake which looked like two turquoise lakes nestled between the mountains. It was spring, the plants were just starting to bloom. The color of the lakes, pinkish flowers on the trees and the fresh green of the grass created a great mix. Beautiful colors that can only be found in nature.

The vew from the tower in Pesscassiroli.


As there were still a few hours left until the evening, so we set out to visit the WWF Oasis called Sorgenti del Cavuto.

Ther’re many paths tailored to your interests and your condition. You can choose a bilogical track, bird track, geological path etc. We picked out the geological one leading to the small village of Castovalva.

According to the information on the board, it should take about 45 minutes to reach the end of its first part, i.e. the beginning of the road. Then the second part goes for about 1 km on an asphalt road, then you can climb up to the village from which, according to what Mauro read on the internet, should have an amazing view.

The geological path starts off easy then gets a bit more complicated but still walkable. At the beginning on the path, you can take a picture, as there’s a cutout with pictures of deer and bears painted on them, which suggest that the forest is their home, so I was very focused on not meeting a bear. Even if I dreamed of seeing a bear, but not at close range. Anyway, the trail goes uphill and when we got to the top, close to the road, we decided to turn back. I was quite happy, it was twilight and I don’t think hiking in the mountain forest when it gets dark is not the best idea.

However we still wanted to see this famous, amazing panorama, so we decided to go there. And it was a good decision because what we saw from above was not worth the climb. It was just the view, definitely not amazing. I don’t know, maybe we hadn’t found the point where the view was expected to be great.

On the other hand, Italians tend to rave about everything Italian, just because it’s Italian. And because in their opinion Italy is the most beautiful country in the universe, so every single city/village/river/view is amazing. I am not Italian, and my view of their country is slightly different because it is objective. I’m also pretty well-traveled, I’ve seen a lot of places, and I don’t get excited about every sight just because someone thinks it’s beautiful. Everyone has different tastes and in my opinion, beauty is a subjective feeling. So the great view from the village was not great at all in my opinion. The visit to the village ended our Sunday.

On Monday we visited The National Park od Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise ( Parco Nazionale Abruzzo Lazio e Molise).

A plaque on a stone pillar in front of the entrance to the national park in the mountains.
Entrance to the park.


On Monday morning we went to  the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise (Parco Nazionale Abruzzo Lazio e Molise) to see a waterfall, actually two. Monday, the second day od Easter celebration, was a day off in Italy, so there were crowds in the park. Families with children, people with dogs, walkers, climbers, cyclists, etc. The park is a great place for an active and lazy recreation. There is a playground, picnic areas, horse riding, a place to play ball, lie on the grass, etc. The park also offers many mountain hiking trails of varying difficulty and length.

We were there because of the waterfalls. To get to them we walked for about an hour on an asphalt road, and then climbed the stairs in the forest for about 600m up. The waterfalls that day were very popular and a lot of people went to them. A lot of ladies were wearing high heels, which are known to be great for walking in the mountains, so the ladies blocked the stairs and there was a traffic jam.
Avoiding the lassies stuck on the stairs, we reached the first waterfall and saw a crowd. Everyone was taking selfies. It was hard to capture the waterfall without heads and hands in the picture, so we climbed higher to the second waterfall. It was empty as most people generally get to the first stop and only a few go further.
The almost dry waterfalls did not impress us, they even made us a bit worried. Maybe the winter wasn’t snowy and rainy enough, or maybe it’s a problem with the climate and droughts.


Slightly disappointed, we get back to the main road/square where there are 2 or 3 bars. People kept coming, and I’m not a fan of crowds. I absolutely like a lot of people in big cities, but not necessarily in forests/mountains/beaches and small places.
So we decided to make a short path in the mountains, running away from people. The G6 trail leading to an altitude of 1,400 m seemed ideal for a fast climb. It is not far from the main road and goes through the forest. In April there were still piles of snow here and there. And it was very quiet there. Cool.

The last point of our Easter in Abruzzo was Villeta Barrea.

Abruzzo is home to wild animals, but as people take up more and more space, the animals have to adapt to their constant presence.
We went to Villetta Barrea hoping to see the bears that occasionally show up under people’s houses looking for discarded food.

Board informing about a possible meeting with bears.
A board in Viletta Barrea.

It was an early and sunny afternoon, people were walking, and there were camps on the grass, so maybe not the best conditions for bears. We didn’t see any, but I almost jumped for joy when I saw a deer peacefully eating the grass. Of course, I took a hundred photos!

Villa Barrea was the last planned stop on our Easter in Abruzzo. We planned as we stopped 3 more times because of the deer. The first stop was still in the town, where we saw their big family.

A family of deers.


We then stopped on the roadside to photograph a beautiful deer with impressive antlers. After a few seconds, more cars started to stop on the side of the road, which caused a traffic jam, as everyone wanted a picture of the animal.

The last “deer stop” was on the highway, where an animal was grazing on a roundabout.

And so ended our Easter in Abruzzo.



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