A tangle of steep alleyways and sturdy, grey-stone houses, Scanno is a dramatic and atmospheric medieval borgo, known for its finely worked filigree gold jewellery. For centuries a centre of wool production, it is one of the few places in Italy where you can still see women wearing traditional dress – especially during the week-long costume festival held at the end of April. The somewhat sombre but imposing costumes were famously photographed by Cartier Bresson in 1951. They comprise a full black skirt and bodice with puffed sleeves, a headdress of braided fabric topped with an angular cap, and filigree jewellery including star-shaped charms, given as betrothal gifts by shepherds before they departed on the long transhumanza (sheep migration).
Be sure to take the exhilarating drive up to Scanno from Sulmona through the rocky Gole di Sagittario, a WWF reserve and gorge, and past tranquil Lago di Scanno. Here there's a scattering of bars and cafes, and you can hire boats in summer.