Public wash house

In the town of Rio nell’Elba, near the Canali spring on the north oriental side of the town, arises the suggestive wash house. The wash house is inside a pink colored building, characterized by a trussed wooden ceiling and arched windows, which lights up the various tanks that are feed with water pouring generously by the nearby source.

The wash house was once used to do the laundry by the women of the town, and has undergone several changes during the years. The old wash house is now inside the current building where the pumping station is located. Since in those years the population was growing demographically, in 1873 the wash house was enlarged to guarantee its service to all the people.
The tanks inside of the building dates back to 1500 and are entirely dig on the rocks and provided with brass openings.

The construction of the most recent wash house, which had to provide as well drinking water, was completed in 1911, and to avoid pollution in the spring, it was provided with 18 self -cleaning smaller tanks. The new refurbishment had to guarantee as well the public hygiene and in 1917 its usage was regulated for the soil and inhabited area hygiene. The wash house tanks were used until 1960, it was reduced to two tanks, one bigger to rinse and one smaller to wash the laundry.

It was a place of domestic labor and socialization for the women of the town, that often gathered together to do the laundry, it was used once also by the local miners, who were coming back from the dusty job in the mines, to wash before coming home.

Recently the wash house has been refurbished and it’s possible to visit it in the peak of its splendor and to have more information thanks to the information and photographic panels fixed on the walls. The access is free and is used by the municipality and by the local population too as a place for concerts and exhibitions in a very suggestive location.

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