Sulmona and Scanno – Abruzzo Hills Towns

Sulmona and Scanno.jpg

Visiting Sulmona For Authentic Confetti

To tour around the Abruzzo region in Italy, we were finally renting a car! Every trip we have made, we planned to get a car and have got lulled into the ease of train and bus travel. While that gets you almost everywhere, we knew we were missing poking our heads into places as we wandered off the main routes.


David had pre-booked our Europcar and finding almost no premium for dropping off at another town, we booked the car for 2 weeks with pickup in Pescara and a drop off in Sorrento. We would not have to haul bags between the next 3 stops. Picking up the car was a breeze. We got no pushback when we declined the long page of extra insurance offered in Italy, using our home car insurance with extra credit card coverage instead.
Picking up our mid sized green Nissan, a little disappointed that we didn’t get a bright orange Panda, we navigated successfully out of the train station and were on our way. I anticipated a few fights about navigation but figured we would live through it. David’s weird loss of his navigation sense since landing in Europe would continue to plague us. We had decided to head into the mountains on the smaller local SS5 road but after two consecutive missed turns that sent us in a circle and back to the A25 autoroute, we figured that maybe someone was telling us something. We would stay on the autoroute until we got away from the coast a bit.


Exiting the autoroute around Popoli, we reconnected with the local SS5 route again and were off, following signs that clearly now pointed to Sulmona and Scanno. We debated stopping in Popoli, but now being about 90 minutes behind where we planned to be, we continued on. Everywhere we looked we could see the tall mountains around us, with large barren rocks jutting up and later with mountain tops hidden in clouds. We were in the land of hill towns – with small hamlets tucked up on the hills or built right into the hill.
Abruzzo hill towns on way to Sulmona and Scanno.jpg

We followed the GPS into the heart of Sulmona, headed for the IAT tourist information spot. Parking the car (free between 1 and 3 pm), we would finally find the IAT marker for the tourist information as we headed back to the car after our visit of the town. While virtually all towns we visited in Italy had tourist offices, it was almost always hard to actually figure out which building they were housed in.

It was a quiet town for the few hours we wandered, evidence to the real slowdown that happens during siesta time. Picking a scenic spot across from a church, we could watch the little traffic that strolled past.

Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo.jpg
Sulmona church visiting Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo.jpg
Sulmona church visiting Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo.jpg

After a good lunch we strolled around and looked at the town sites, picturesque against the backdrop of the mountains in the distance.

Sulmona square visiting Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo.jpg
Sulmona square visiting Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo.jpg
Sulmona when visiting Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo.jpg

We had been told to be sure to get some “confetti“, local candy covered almonds. Little did we know that this would be such an art form with the confetti was displayed as brightly coloured flowers. We made sure to buy our bag of samples!

Sulmona confetti visiting Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo.jpg
Sulmona confetti visiting Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo.jpg
Sulmona confetti visiting Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo.jpg

On To Scanno In The Abruzzo Hillls

Leaving Sulmona, we continued to meander the hills along the narrow twisty roads. Having experienced the roads of Amalfi and our recent 4 weeks along USA’s West Coast PCH, we took the curves with barely a second thought. A few spots were single lane, including through one small tunnel, but we remained undaunted. The only thing that had us wondering was the sign that warned of flooding, apparently for release of flood dams? We were not sure what warning we might get if they decided it was time to open a sluice gate somewhere.

We stopped at two lakes (Lago di San Domenico and then finally at Lago di Scanno), enjoying the look of the emerald water but not tempted to put our toes in the mountain lakes.
Lake enroute to Scanno when visiting Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo.jpg
Lake enroute to Scanno when visiting Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo.jpg
Lake enroute to Scanno when visiting Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo.jpg

Arriving in our final target destination of Scanno, we parked and wandered around the little town up and down the hilly streets. It was a quaint little town that sported the Italian colours in banners around the town. The locals looked at us everywhere we went. Perhaps it was less of a tourist stop or maybe they were used to tour groups.

Scanno church when visiting Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo.jpg
Scanno streets when visiting Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo.jpg

This did not deter us as we poked around finding a store that specialized in liquorice, David’s new addiction. Taste testing a variety, David finally left with a bottle of local Liquirizia (a digestive served best ice cold). While many restaurants offered Lemoncello after dinner, David was always quick to ask if he could have Liquirizia instead. Locals were surprised by this request, noting that “only Italians drink Liquirizia”. David would prove them wrong over and over again!

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By this time, much of the valleys were in shadow as the sun sunk. We had passed a few hill and valley towns that I wanted to photograph when we were on the way in but passed by, and unfortunately they looked much less interesting when they were fully in the shadows. We stopped a few times for pics but they were much less interesting shots.

Abruzzo hill towns when visiting Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo.jpg

Hitting the first autoroute sign, we opted for the fast way home. It was time to head back to Pescara for the day.

What was the first Abruzzo hill town you visited?  Did you visit Sulmona and Scanno in Abruzzo? Watch our blog to see all the rest we visited!


About TravelAtWill 491 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!


  1. Hi , found the link to your blog post on Twitter. What a fab post. Love the confetti. Are they Almonds inside? Also I would ask for Liquirizia too, Love it. Thanks for sharing.

    • This spot was a great find recommended by our hotel concierge in Pescara. Yes – the confetti candy has almonds inside. So hard to believe the beautiful flowers are candy. Glad that you know what Liquirizia is. My husband brought a bottle home and can’t find anything quite as good in Canada.

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