The older women of the village told us how much hard work was needed at the time to do the laundry. The clothes were first put to soak at home, where women produced the lye ("ranno", a home-made laundry soap). This was done by boiling ash or by pouring boiling water directly over it. The ash, sifted, was preferably from beech wood, and was kept separate from the clothes by a hemp-cloth used as a filter. Once this operation was done, the women brought the clothes with a pannier to the washhouse to wash and rinse. Then, before hanging up to dry they were wrung out.
The many washhouses in our council, were privately owned, people had to ask their owner for permission to use them and they were used on a rotation system. At this particular washhouse, many women could work at the same time and, in rotation, they moved towards the water spring to rinse their clothes with clean water. Women came here also at night when it was dark and worked by candlelight. This washhouse was very appreciated because even during the winter the water was not too icy.
The building is divided into two parts: the one at the back is completely below ground and was used as a cassinél. It is also worth noting the vents placed inside the building, which improved the air circulation, and the small canal outside the building used as the water drain.
The Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
Stage 1: Well and "Riaron"
Stage 2: House of Reason
Stage 3: Graad
Stage 4: Cassinel
Stage 5: The mixed broadleaf woods
Stage 6: Geological oddities
Stage 7: Mill and bridge
Stage 8: The glade in the wood
Stage 9: The torrent Franscinone
Stage 11: The birds of the wood
Stage 12: The eroded valley of the Franscinone
Stage 12: Water and energy
Stage 13: The edge of the flood-level wood
Stage 14: Dairy farm for the processing of milk
Stage 15: Lime-kiln
Stage 16: The rural area
Stage 17: The Humid area of Canéed
Stage 18: The earth kiln for charcoal production
Stage 19: Terracing
Stage 20: Madonna d'Arla
Stage 21: The Chestnut Wood of Pian Piret
Stage 22: The Beechwood
Stage 23: The Boulder with Engraved Cupels
Stage 23: I Denti della Vecchia
Stage 24: R’Alborón
Stage 25: The Oratory of S. Martino
Stage 26: The old center of Sonvico
Stage 27: The Walnut Press
Stage 28: The Church of Saint John the Baptist
The Luganese Regional Bus Line covers the Lugano – Sonvico stretch; from Val Colla you can reach Sonvico, using the postal bus from Tesserete to Sonvico.