The path of the heart of Lake Scanno


In the heart of Abruzzo there is a special path that leads to a slope from which you can admire a unique spectacle in the world. From that perspective, Lake Scanno sembre has the shape of a heart. 


From the top of the hill where the hermitage of Sant’Egidio stands, you can admire the village of Scanno and the beautiful view of the lake in the shape of a heart. In this article we explain how to get there and how to see this show. 


The lake of Scanno is a jewel set in the heart of Italy, between the Marsican Mountains, in the high valley of the river Sagittarius. It originated from the ancient landslide that broke away from Mount Genzana above, which forever blocked the passage of the river Tasso. The lake is hidden between mountains at a height of 922 meters, is 1722 meters long and 700 meters wide and has a maximum depth of 32 meters. 


The lake is located between the municipalities of Scanno and Villalago and is a marvel to visit in the province of L’Aquila. Scanno is the largest natural lake in Abruzzo that separates the mountains of the National Park creating spectacular gorges in the rock. Do not miss, in that area the trekking that will lead you to the beautiful Gorges of Sagittarius. 


The colour of the water is changing, it goes from green to blue, it is absolutely worth visiting the small church of the Madonna del Lago, built in 1702 on the southern shore of the lake. 


It is necessary to make a premise, the lake of Scanno does not have the shape of a heart, but, from a particular perspective you can see it of these features, just follow the Path of the Heart of Scanno that about an hour’s walk will take you to a panoramic terrace from which to admire this show. 


The Sentiero del Cuore starts from the lake of Scanno, it is a beautiful road suitable for all that a panoramic point that will allow you to admire the lake in the shape of a heart. 


Follow the stretch of the SS 479, until you take a path uphill, after a short stop in a beautiful vantage point, follow the road in the woods, towards the ridge of the Montagna Grande. At a certain point, follow the dirt road that will lead you to the village of Scanno. A small stretch of road that enters a grove that will lead to the Hermitage of S. Egidio. From here, go up towards another wooded area that will take you to a small ledge from where you can see the lake with the shape of a heart. The route is 2.1 kilometres long and has a difference in height of 289 metres. 


  • Lake Scanno 
  • Scanno 
  • Hermitage S. Egidio
  • Cengia
  • Lake Sanno 

Itinerary for the Heart Trail

  • To get to Scanno you have to take the A24 (Roma-Pescara) and exit at “Cocullo”. From there take the signs for Scanno.
  • Set your navigator on “Via della Pineta”. When you get to your destination, the road winds its way through four other roads. On your left you will find a fountain and an illustrative sign about Sant’Egidio. Park near where you will find parking.
  • Keeping the fountain behind you, you have to enter the street on the top right, where you see the iron handrail and a small sign that marks the beginning of the street “Path of the heart”.
  • Keep walking for 6/7 minutes straight on. You will find a first fork on the left but keep going straight until you find a house under construction in front of your eyes, and the hermitage of Sant’Egidio on the top right.
  • Walking along the house on the right side, you will see the uphill path that announces the beginning of the path.
  • Take the narrow path and continue straight ahead. After about 7 minutes you will find a fork with four roads and information signs indicating the way. On the right side you will see a fountain. Continuing along the street on the right you will arrive at the hermitage of Sant’Egidio 
  • Follow the signs for the “Sentiero del cuore” (Path of the Heart). After about 5 minutes the road divides again. A road goes upwards and a straight road goes straight on and enters the woods. Continue along the path in front of you and continue straight ahead.
  • After about 20 minutes, on the right, you will find a sign (the only one that you will find imprinted with the map of the paths). Turn 180° and you will see the viewpoint.


Watch out for the overhang! There are no protections, no railings! Do not lean too far if you suffer from vertigo.

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