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Lago di Sanno.

What to do in Abruzzo during Easter – visiting Scanno and Lago di Scanno. Part 1.


 I should have published this post right after Easter 2022, but I didn’t have time to write! It turned out that I had been far too optimistic if it comes to my time before starting the blog, but I’m gonna try to write once a week. 

 I spent Easter in Abruzzo, which (I’m pretty sure) is my favorite region of Italy.

Or one of my favourites, and it has everything I like: a sense of freedom and wildness, mountains, sea, small and full of stone houses, sometimes almost dead towns and villages, forests and animals.

We arrived in Abruzzo on Saturday and left on Monday late afternoon. Abruzzo with hundreds of beautiful places to see and photograph is simply great to get around by car. Even if the infrastructure is not the best there, a car is still the most convenient option. Along the way, we stopped several times to walk around and take pictures, but one place caught my attention. Well, I haven’t spent my life in a wardrobe, I’ve seen many beautiful places, but Lago di Barrea (Lake Barrea) is stunning.

Mountains and small houses surronding blue lake
Lago do Barrea.


Like all mountain bodies of water, Lago di Barrea is incredibly blue, surrounded by green hills decorated here and there with small houses with red roofs. Fairy tale!

What did we do in Abruzzo i?

We got to Scanno in the afternoon and during Easter, we climbed the panoramic point in Scanno, wandered around Scanno, visited Lago di San Domenico, Gole del Sagittamo, and WWF reserve (oasis) where we did short hiking, climbed up to 1400m in Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise, and saw two waterfalls.

But first things first, as I’ve already mentioned, we stayed all Easter in Scanno.

Old houses and mountains in the background.

We started our stay with some problems due to the Booking. Because restaurants at Easter are full and we hadn’t booked any of them, we decided to cook. Mauro booked a place with access to the kitchen. I am guessing not many of you have seen how Italians go on a self-catering holiday, even the shortest ones. I have experienced it of course, but it always amazes me. We have luggage with clothes and a ton of food. Of course, Mauro, as the Southerner can’t buy for example tomatoes or bread in Abruzzo, because they aren’t like in Puglia….
So we took tomato, bread, fish and… and….

Anyway, it turned out that the description of the place he had booked was slightly far from reality, so the host (lovely and very helpful) and Mauro spent hours calling the Booking and trying to resolve the problem. He had made a formal complaint, but so far he hasn’t got any answer from the company. Long story short, the apartment wasn’t really what Mauro wanted, so the host found another place where we could cook.

Lago di Scanno – is it really heart-shaped?

After all these troubles not much of the afternoon left, so we decided to get to the panoramic point and see Lago di Scanno (The Scanno Lake), which in theory should be heart-shaped.

Like everywhere in Italy, Scanno is not full of information signs making tourists’ life easier. I don’t know what Italians have against route markers. Having been living in Italy for a while I have noticed that Italians are technophobes, but it seems they also have a fobia against route markers. It’s a kind of weird tendency to make everything more difficult.
Fortunately, we can always rely (if there is a network) on our friend’s GPS and eventually on the locals.

We found the route, and after walking more or less 2km from the center we found a dirt road marked with a red and white sign. We passed the cemetery, which at first glance looks like a huge storied flower shop, and just followed the track that goes a bit up. It was easy, but as usual comfy shoes are good to wear. After maybe 30 min we got up to the first panoramic point, from which you can see the lake and the Scanno itself. I think from there you can get down to the lake as well, however, I’m not sure.
If you want to see whether the lake is heart-shaped, you have to go to the ‘belvedere alto’ which is about 10 min further and upper.

Small wooden sign showing a tourist track
A way to the view point.


On the way, you can drink fresh water from the mountains as there’s a fountain. When you get to the top, you’ll see that the lake looks like a big blue heart.

Blue heart shaped lake between mountains.
Lago di Sanno.


I thought Lago di Scanno is an artificial reservoir, like the majority of lakes in the region, but it’s natural and had been formed by the landslide of Mount Genzana that blocked the river Tasso. I always say that nature is the best architect.
There were quite a few people, but it was Saturday and just a day before Easter. However, I believe the best option to visit some popular spots is at lunchtime. For Italians, lunch is a holly thing, so they hardly ever skip it.

What, besides taking pictures and enjoying the view, you can do at Lake Scanno you’ll read in another post.


Scanno in the evening

We ended the day by walking around Scanno, a lovely medieval town with thousands of steps going up and down. When we were going to the viewpoint, we saw the panorama of the town with very long stairs leading up to Scanno. I mean a really long staircase so we wanted to find it, but it was a difficult task. The stairs look straight from a distance, we found something quite long but twisted. We were unable to discover those we saw from a distance. Nevertheless, if you like climbing stairs, Scanno will be your paradise.

Scanno seems to be a pretty popular tourist destination, at least among Italians. The town is rich in restaurants, bars, etc, so for sure, they are there not only because of the locals. Scanno is old and had been mentioned for the first time in 1067. There are some monuments to visit, but honestly, we just had a walk around, so I didn’t see any of them inside. I’m guessing they are pretty nice.
Late evening we got back to the apartment, cooked dinner, and went to sleep.
More about my Easter in Abruzzo in my next post. 

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