Allerona: Within the walls of an Umbrian hilltown
Le Fontane - Old Laundry House
The present structure dates to late the 1800s, but there's likely been a laundry house here for much longer. These tubs were used regularly up until a few decades ago. This was before everyone had washing machines in their homes. Paolo remembers that on the coldest days, his mother would come home with her hands cracked and bleeding from the cold water and harsh soap, made of lye and animal fat.
The first pool was for washing with soap. Feel how smooth the marble edge is, from decades of women wringing their laundry on the stone. The second pool was the first rinse and the third pool had the cleanest water for the final rinse. Paolo recalls that in the winter, his mother would come home with her hands cracked and bleeding from the cold. He also says that when he was a little boy, his mom would let him play in that last pool to cool off on hot days.
Some women still use the laundry if they have a comforter, a rug or other big items to wash. In the first room, to the back right, you'll see one of those cunicolo, or tunnels I told you about earlier. This one allegedly arrives under the Piazza della Chiesa. Though they're printed in Italian only, the two information panels in the laundry offer some interesting photos showing the history and methods of Le Fontane.
[2 SECOND PAUSE]
This is where I'll be leaving you.Go ahead and backtrack to the main piazza, or take some more time to wander around our enchanting streets. I hope you've enjoyed this tour of our humble town! Goodbye.