Our Italian Adventure Part 3
July 10th – Mykonos → Pacentro
I forgot to mention in my last post that we flew with Easyjet – it was our first and last time we will ever fly with them. Even if you have a backpack/purse and a carry on which every other plane lets you take both on, EasyJet makes you check your bag because they consider a purse or backpack as one carry on!
But enough about the airport in Mykonos! When we got back to Italy we rented another car through Hertz / Thrifty again and got a sweet diesel-powered wip – then we were off to beautiful Pacentro for round two. We made a pit-stop at the outlets to buy a suitcase to house all the Italian vino, olive oil and other gifts we accumulated over our two week stay. We got to Pacentro in the early afternoon, just before Giovanni and Margherita were getting off work. For dinner, we joined everyone in “Piazza del Popolo” and watched the world cup game between Portugal and France. We had Calzones for dinner, which were amazingly delicious and filling.. After dinner a small group of us took a walk around the town to work off all the food we had just consumed. To end the night, went to get “gelato” and a “café” – at the small shop where we tried Grappa for the first time.
July 11th – Scanno
Giovanni and Margherita wanted to show us another small town close to Pacentro the day before we had to leave Italy so the four of us headed out of town towards Scanno. Scanno is called the pearl of Abruzzo, and is nestled in the Sagittarius Valley, in the province of L’Aquila, gets its name from the land it was erected upon. This was one of the most beautiful drives we had ever been on, we went through a few tunnels and twists / turns up the mountain side. The windy mountain road opened up to a pristine lake that sits below the town of Scanno. Local legend has it that Scanno’s natural lake (Lago di Scanno – stocked with pike and perch and Abruzzo’s largest natural basin) was created by a feud between a white witch and a sorcerer; the lake marking the spot where the witch finally fell. For a brief period during World War II, former Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi was a refugee in the town.
We stopped at the lake, enjoyed the view and relaxed with a bottle of Prosecco. From there, we all ventured into the town – it had a similar feel as Pacentro, with quaint historic cobblestone streets, laundry hanging from the windows above and the church bells ringing in the background. We stopped at “Vecchio Mulino Trattoria” for lunch, which was some of the best food of the trip. In Italy it is not uncommon for the restaurant owner to order your multi-course meal for you. We had the best meat and cheese platter in the world, ravioli, egg with truffle, gnocchi, and more. And of course we ended the meal with a coffee and grappa.
Now that we were all in a food coma, we continued exploring the town and ventured through the streets until we got to a few jewelry stores. We were told that Scanno is known for its amazing hand-crafted jewelry. The store we went to was called Armando Di Rienzo. We picked out some amazing jewelry for our family members, but my favorite piece I came home with was a three-piece heart ring that had two hands covering one heart. It was a meaningful piece for us on this trip that will forever remind us of the amazing time we spent in Italy.
We were told that people venture to Scanno to buy jewelry for their loved ones. Presentosa is a traditional jewellery from Abruzzo. The filigree of the jewelry represents symbols in different shapes and each shape has a different meaning: one heart in the middle means that the girl is single. Two hearts, the girl who wears it is engaged. Two hearts joined by a crescent reversed moon shape means the girl is married. Originally the Presentosa was related to the rituals of engagement, it used to be offered to young women as a promise of love
Once we were done exploring the town we headed back to Pacentro for dinner.
The family was nice enough to plan a back-yard BBQ for everyone, hosted by Luigi and Anna (Giovanni’s parents.) It was a beautiful summer night, full of love and laughter – we were so happy to have experienced so many amazing Italian style dinners during our stay in Italy.
We thanked the family for being so gracious to host us while we were in their quaint town, we left the next morning to make our way back to the states. We didn’t say goodbye, we said we will see you soon. We are already planning our trip to Sicily next year, and I cannot wait to share our next adventure!
Some other interesting facts and tips on Pacentro & Scanno:
To shop: https://www.facebook.com/Oreficeriadirienzo
Jewelry History in Abruzzo: http://www.abruzzoruralproperty.com/blog-ru/entry/a-traditional-jewellery-from-abruzzo-la-presentosa.html#.V9Lpa5grK00
To See Lago di Scanno: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/2282ba/
The fountain of the Pisciarello: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/1a87c4/
Church of Saint Anthony: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/1a87bb/
Fontana Saracco: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/1a8799/
To Stay: Case Roncone http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/1a8795/