Martinai – Angrogna

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Welcome back, guys!
All this strolling made you thirsty, right? Well, I’m thirsty as well… Don’t worry, kids, I know a fountain flowing cold and refreshing water!!!

1 . the source at Martinai
The source at Martinai

…here we are! This small village is called “Martinai”, and they say this is the most abundant source of water in the whole valley.
The fountain takes its name from the Martinail family (turned to “Martinaglio” in Italian), who has lived in Angrogna since very long time ago (some say from 1594!)
As you can see, water flows out from the rock into this big pool (called “bacias”) made of stone, where once people living round here used to come to make the “leisìa”, which means that they came here to do the laundry using ash.
Do you know how people washed clothes in the past?

Posing next to the fountain!
Posing next to the fountain!

First of all, you have to know that it was a very long work… it took almost three days!
The first day laundry was put in the fountain to soap and then it was brought back home with buckets; at home, laundry was put in a big tub, so that it could strain properly.
The second day water was heated on the stove and then it was poured slowly on the laundry; on the bottom of the tub there was a little hole that let water drain out. This process was repeated several times.
After a few hours the ash of the fireplace was taken and sifted, then it was wrapped in a towel and placed upon the laundry.
After that, some more warm water was drained on the laundry… In this way, water mixed with ash became “leisìa”, which is a kind of natural soap.

3 . stones for laundry (or "lavoire")
Stones for laundry (or “lavoire”)

Finally, on the third day, people came back to the fountain to rinse the laundry, which was then layed to dry.
Aren’t we lucky, since we have washing machines?!

How to get here:
from Provincial Road 161, between Torre Pellice and Luserna San Giovanni, at the roundabout take the road to Angrogna (you’ll also find the traffic signals to Guieiza d’la Tana, Chabas and Vaccera). Follow the road and you’ll get to the main square of San Lorenzo, then continue for about 1.8 km and you will arrive in the hamlet of Serre. Just 150 m you will find the directions to the fountain, which can be reached with a small climb.

 

Do you want to read the tale in Italian ?