Wash Day at il Lavatoio

October 16, 2007 / Events
Vetralla
Lavatoio simply means “wash house”. Many that were built in the 1850’s in the smaller towns are still fully functional. This neighborhood wash house, for example, is still used every day by the signore of Piazza del Sole (Piazza of the Sun) in the beautiful town of Vetralla, about 45 miles north-west of Rome.

The first signora to arrive gets the “upper” tub where the clean water flows in. After a hearty scrub on the smooth stone, the clothes are rinsed, then hung to dry in the piazza. During summer’s hottest days the lavatoio does double duty as an improvised pool for the local kids. On those days their mothers are probably thinking, “Due piccioni con una fava!“, literally “Two pigeons with one broad bean.”

Mary Jane Cryan

by Mary Jane Cryan

Mary Jane is a historian, cruise lecturer, author and publisher of books on Italian history and central Italy has been residing in Italy for half a century.

See her award winning website www.elegantetruria.com and weekly blog posts on 50YearsInItaly for more about central Italy and to order books directly from the author.

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