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The Churches of Scanno

Places of faith, tradition and culture in the village

A significant part of the historical-architectural heritage that you will be able to appreciate are undoubtedly the churches of Scanno. There are numerous religious buildings within the walls of the town, and there are also hermitages and shrines immersed in the nature that circumscribes the town.

St. Mary of the Valley

The Church of Santa Maria della Valle, also known as the Church of the Assumption, is the most renowned; there is no precise information about the date of its construction, but some architectural elements indicate its existence as early as the 12th century. The exterior of the church is in Abruzzi Romanesque style, and the facade has three portals and as many rose windows placed above. Jumping to the eye is the bell tower, a full 35 meters high, visible from various angles in the village. Inside, traces of frescoes from medieval times can be seen, and the relics of St. Costanzo are preserved, placed in the chapel dedicated to the latter. These are just some of the beauties that the building has to offer; the rest of the heritage inside really deserves to be visited.

Church of St. Mary of Loreto and St. Eustace

The Church of St. Mary of Loreto and St. Eustace stands in a rather secluded corner of the center, passing almost unnoticed by its simplicity, with a plastered facade with a window set perpendicularly from the thirteenth-century portal accessed by climbing a few steps. It is built on the remains of an ancient temple and completed about 1712. Very striking are the architectural lines and fine Baroque stuccoes such as those adorning the broken tympanum of the high altar and side altars. The interior is extremely charming and features statues of saints venerated in the city.

Church of San Rocco

Among the churches of Scanno we also find the Church of San Rocco, also known as the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, is the result of the aggregation of two separate adjacent churches that probably occurred towards the end of the 17th century. It is not possible to determine what the time of construction of the primitive church of San Rocco was, however, some reports from the early 16th century suggest its existence for a few centuries. The facade is simple with a portal in 16th-century style and bears a Latin inscription "MATER ET DECOR CARMELI ORA PRONOBIS." Internally, an edicolette holds the venerated statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Church of St. Anthony of Padua

The Church of St. Anthony of Padua has next to it the former convent of the Friars Minor Reformed, both were founded between 1595 and 1596. The façade features the typical Scannese scheme, which in turn recalls that of L'Aquila and Umbrian Romanesque, with two horizontal fields separated by a cornice, rose window, and corner pilasters. To be admired elegant and spectacular Baroque interiors with gilded stuccoes will be a joy to the visitor's eyes. In addition, there are fine canvases and a very special organ.

Church of St. Anthony Abbot

The most modest of Scanno's churches is perhaps that of St. Anthony Abbot also known as Baron, outside the town walls, but it is of importance to mention it because of the well-established folkloric tradition in remembrance of the saint's life; at dusk on January 16, after the celebration of mass, the "Gloria," a large purifying bonfire around which all those gathered enjoy traditional porchetta sandwiches, is lit in the small square in front of the church. The following day, a large tripod with a huge cauldron is placed on the fire in which "sagne con la ricotta" a dish formerly offered to the poor of the village is cooked. Around 11 a.m., at the end of the mass, the tasty steaming food, blessed by the priest, is distributed to a crowd of the faithful who with the most disparate vessels scramble around the fire to take home at least a ladleful to consume out of devotion. The custom of distributing "le sagne con la ricotta" seems to date back to the 14th or 15th centuries, times when the Abbey of St. Anthony Abbot existed in Scanno.

Church of St. Mary of Constantinople

Santa Maria di Costantinopoli is one of the smallest churches in Scanno, dating back to the 15th century overlooking Piazza San Rocco also known as the "old square." Externally it has a simple stone facade that does not make it easily identifiable. The interior consists of a single rectangular room that is almost completely bare, embellished only by the 15th-century fresco depicting the Madonna Enthroned with Child; the painting recalls 15th-century Sienese art. Although the church is of modest architectural value, the painting on the altar is one of Scanno's greatest works.

Hermitage of Saint Egidio

Outside the walls of the Borgo di Scanno, the Hermitage of Sant'Egidio, located on the hill of the same name, is of particular interest, and can be reached via the path of the heart. The church is in rural Romanesque style. On the lintel of the door is written: AD 1656 TEMPORE PESTIS S. EGIDIO ORA PRO NOBIS BIASO ANGELO, dedicated precisely to the saint believed by the inhabitants of Scanno to be the protector of the plague. Inside, above the altar is a fresco of St. Egidio painted by masters of the Neapolitan school in 1796; on the sides of the facade, on the other hand, there are frescoes on the theme of the Passion of Jesus.

Little church of the Alpini

Also characteristic is the Alpini Church, accessible via the chairlift of Collerotondo or via the parallel path. Surrounded by silence, it is a special place of worship with wonderful views.

Church of Our Lady of the Lake

Absolutely not to be missed is the Church of Our Lady of the Lake! A gem on the shores of Lake Scanno, carved into the rock: although small in size, it is very pretty, and still retains the scents and spirituality of times past. Several paintings inside as well as a rough, unworked rock wall make the place truly enchanting!

and finally.

Other places of worship are scattered throughout the village, such as the Church of St. John the Baptist, St. Mary of Grace, the Church of St. Libory, and the Church of St. Nicholas; there are many religious buildings in the Borgo of Scanno, confirming a culture rooted in religious beliefs, which still retains the charm of the sacred!

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