Two as in the Hermitage of St. Domenico and the village of Scanno.
The morning wasn’t that promising, when we left the hotel it was raining like hell! We drove through almost deserted road till the village of Villalago but that wasn’t our final destination. A little further there is a small lake surrounded by high hills (not yet mountains), the lake has the same name of the hermitage that hangs over it, St. Domenico.
According to historical news, St. Domenico lived in the enchantment of thiese places around the year 1000, and to the Saint himself is attributed the construction of the St. Peter Monastery and of the Hermitage, in the “villa de lacu” (the city with the lake, in latin). The Hermitahe consisted in a simple building in which the monks gathered together on monastic occasions using small caves as cells and the Church was probably built around the 1500. The bridge that crosses the lake from the road to the hermitage has been recently restored with the help of the people of the area, and in each marble tile of the pavement is engraved the name of the person who donated for this (and as you can see by the umbrella hubby was holding, it was still raining!)
A small portico leads inside the Sanctuary, and it has been endowed with a “bifora” that offers a beautiful view of the lake, and enriched with four painting that represent the miracles operated here by St. Domenico: the appearance of the broad beans during a famine (the broad bean is a typical dish here) – a kidnapped boy brought back by a wolf – the transformation of fishes in snakes – and the saving of a boy fell from an oak.
Too bad the Sanctuary was closed, because inside there’s a little cave that is the one used by the Saint to rest and to pray, and some other interesting frescos.
Luckily the weather was a little better when we took the car again and drove along the Sagittario Valley (Sagittarius, that’s the name of the valley and the river that digged it) because the view was really nice over the Lake of Scanno.
Local legend has it that Scanno’s natural lake was created by a feud between a white witch and a sorcerer, the lake marking the spot where the witch finally fell.
Under a very pale sun, we walked through the village old center. Scanno has been immortalised by photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson (1951) and Mario Giacomelli (1957-1959) and, according to Edward Lear, was host to Italy’s most beautiful women (Illustrated excursions in Italy by Lear, Edward, 1846). So it was not a surprise when the first things we saw entering the village was a monument to the women of Scanno and a tile on a wall representing a woman in the typical dress.
We couldn’t miss this door, leading to a B&B named after the great Gabriele D’Annunzio who lived here during the summers of 1884 and 1888 and who here got himself three married women as lovers (the three rooms of the B&B are named after these women)
The village still holds the charm of the old glorious days, when the noble families of the region had here their summer houses, due to the healthy breeze coming from the lake and the mountains…
One of the two important fountains in Scanno is the Fontana Sarracco, with two arched bodies: the one on the left, built in 1549, was reserved for animals only – while the one on the right was for people. In the people’s part there are for distinct “taps” with four different images: the king, the queen, the shoe-maker and the friar… only noble men could drink from the king’s tap, while noble women drank from the queen’s tap. The shoe-maker was reserved for common people of all genders, while the friar was only used by religious people.
The construction year of the Church of St. Mary of the Valley is unknown, but it existed already in 1483. The actual aspect of the Church is dated back from mid 1700 with precious works of golden woods (the organ balcony and the frames of the paintings) and the marble holy water fonts
I don’t know if it was the light mist after the rain, the almost deserted narrow streets, the silence that reigned there, it was as we were suddenly back in another time….a peaceful and charming one..