“Scanno reminded me of a fairy tale village, full of sun, with black silhouettes. I tried to burn the details out to erase everything that may have been documentary-like, because I thought I could find more poetry in it. I never considered doing realism with Scanno […] but only things, even not exceptional ones, that could reflect my personal mood at the moment”.
The quote is by Mario Giacomelli (1925-2000) who with Renzo Tortelli immortalized various glimpses of the small town in Abruzzo in 1957.
Giacomelli and Tortelli were following in the footsteps of other masters of photography who had made Scanno a must-see stop on their Grand Tour in search of images. Hilde Lotz-Bauer (1907-1999) had visited in the 1930s, and in 1951 Henri Cartier-Bresson had walked around these narrow streets, still unscathed by modernity, looking “nervous… anxious to capture in a single image the essence” of every scene he found himself in front of.
In the following years, the charming village in the province of L’Aquila would attract many other important artists, including Gianni Berengo Gardin, Piergiorgio Branzi, Ferdinando Scianna, and Pepi Merisio. Giacomelli himself returned to Scanno 1959.
Here is a selection of the beautiful photographs they took.