At the beginning of the seventeenth century for the needs of the women of the village, by the will of Francesco Colonna, Lord of Carbognano, and the Community, was made to realize the washhouse of Santa Maria thanks to the work of Pietro mason and stonemason in Carbognano designed by architect Paulo Maggi.
Carbognano, Wash house of Santa Maria
The wash house of the district of Santa Maria was born in the context of urban renewal of Carbognano relaunched at the end of the sixteenth century by Francesco Colonna in the wake of his father Giulio Cesare and his great-aunt Lavinia Della Rovere Orsini. In a context of requalification of spaces and places for civic use, at the beginning of the XVII century it was necessary to build some wash-houses. Already in previous years had been created of the scuffles born from the improper use that the women of the village made of the new source just built “Fonte Nova – 1596”. (ASCC, SAR, August 10, 1611, cc. 72v. 73r.). It even came to present in the city council the motion to put the illustrious Francesco Colonna of the laws in order to prevent this misuse of the source and consequently that women did not wash clothes. The conjecture of a hydrogeological instability forced the community to build a retaining wall under the square of Santa Maria to avoid washouts: “Congregato et coadunato Consiglio … 5° Item If you let them know how necessary it is to build a wall at the foot of the square of Santa Maria, seeing that the water consumes and takes away the earth of the said square, they will decide if it has to be done or not and also to mediate at the canton of Santa Maria. … Messer Giovanni Pacelli … sopra la 5° che li Signori facino il muro proposto et anco remedino al cantone sotto alla chiesa di santa Maria”. (ASCC, SAR 2/6, AD – LC, June 23, 1609, cc. 261v. – 262v. ), The logistical and social conditions were created to build wash houses in order to meet the needs of the people of the village. In 1611, in the August council meeting, with the intention of building wash houses for public service and comfort, it was attempted to identify places to be used for this service: “Congregato et Coadunato generale consiglio…. 3° Item it is proposed that since it is seen that the whole population suffers the damage of the inconvenience and inconvenience that they have in washing clothes in these times to provide themselves with water, and for this reason it was thought to make the fountains for this service for public convenience in some convenient place for all and for all the people. and to make this expense, since there are no denarii, it could be possible to sell some grain, but they will do what they think opportune in this negotiation, letting them know that in Bassanello lime will be sold at 8 bolognini the rubio. Giovanni Zuccaro invocato ….supra la 3 che li fontanili si faccino et per pagare la spesa si facci l’impe(gno) per accio sia prima la Comunità soministri denari”. We find expenses in 1612 made by the Chamberlain to accommodate the architect who was to follow the work of the wash house near the square today of the City “I spent to give food to Mastro Domenico Manichini architect from Bagnaia made to come for the washers together with the Priors who magnarono with said architect. (ASCC, SAR 7b/3, LEUC – 1612). In the first months of the following year the presence of the same architect was requested for “the setting up of the square and to make the drawings of the wash-house”: “Congregato et Coadunato generali consiglio …. Item se fa li sapere ancora qualmente de ordine di Sua Eccellenza Illustrissima si ha da far accomodare la piazza et far anco li lavatori per le donne et questo con giudizio di un archiitetto il quale è necessario per questo effetto farlo venire acciò possa vedere quel che bisogna et ordinare quello si sarà da fare. Domenico Propertio Barberio Invocatorum Consiglia … Supra la 3° Che li Suddetti Signori Priori faccino venire un architetto per far desegnare li lavatori et ancò l’assettamento della Piazza”. (ASCC, SAR 2/6, AD – LC, February 10, 1613, cc. 141r – 141v.). We find traces of this work already begun the following year, in 1613: “I gave to the architect who came for the square and for the washer”, and again “I gave to Mastro Giovanni de Caprarola for half a day that he worked in the square for the washers”. (ASCC, SAR 7b/3, LEUC – 1613). So in fact the building site of the first wash-house in the village had already been started at that date. In 1615, the work on this first wash-house had probably already been completed, but since it was still necessary, other wash houses were planned, trying to find other suitable places for these new constructions, first of all the place where the retaining wall had been built under the church of Santa Maria, leaning against the wall that had just been built: “Congregato et Coadunato generali Consiglio … 1° It is proposed and made known to the SS. VV. that other times it has been proposed to want to make for the service of the public a wash house for the women seeing and knowing that it suffers so much however it is proposed that they dispose if they want to do it or not and how it will be paid. Magistro Domenico invocatorum circa la prima consilia che li Signori Priori per fare il lavatoio per servizio publico si facci venire un architetto acciò si faccia in luogo più comodo al publico et di manco spesa che sia possibile et dove giudicarà detto architetto si faccia detto lavatoio”. (ASCC, SAR 2/7, AD – LC, February 7, 1615, cc 91r. 92r.). Two months later a contract was stipulated between the Community and Mastro Pietro Scalpellino and mason to build the ducts and the wash-house: “Magistro Pietro mason and stonemason in Carbognano with the presence of the Illustrissimo et eccellentissimo Signor Fausto Nofrij deputed by His Illustrious Excellency and of Signor Fabritio Petitti spontaneously promises to the Priors … to make the Condotto and the vase of the Washers for the service of the women … where the place has been destined and to do so in conformity with the design of Paulo Maggi, Architect …”. (ASCC, SAR 2/8, AD – LC, March 14, 1615, cc 93v. 94v.). Still the following year these works were not completed, in fact we find annotated by the Camerlengo other expenses regarding the work of the washers: “I have given the past days to Mastro Benedetto Passo de Bassanello for a good account of the ducts that he has to make for the washers”. But from then on the activity would have intensified to deliver the wash houses for the use of the population. In the book of receipts and expenditures of the Camerlengo, the last entry referring to the “washers” is found in June 1616: “the work for the washers is in progress”. (ASCC, SAR 7b/3, LEUC – 1616). After this last annotation, both in the books of incomes and expenditures and in the books of the communal councils, apart from the interventions of accommodation of the washers (1623) or of the washers’ ducts (1629), there are no more specific mentions. Between 1615 and 1616 the washers of Santa Maria were certainly completed.
From the square of Santa Maria, going down on the right along the alley Borgo Vecchio, on the left next to the retaining wall of the square there is the wash-house of Santa Maria. A modern cement cover offers the shelter of the space that until 50 years ago was still used by the women of the village. The rectangular shaped wash-house is made of leucitic stone. Its dimensions (length mt. 8.00 width meters 2.5, depth meters 1.20), ensured space for a good number of laundresses. The entire edge of the large tub has a sloping floor to allow the process of washing clothes, rubbing and wringing. Two contiguous tubs ensured the division of space during the rinsing phases from the lye with which the clothes were cleaned. A modern tap placed on the left of the back wall replaces the cinnamon that has been replaced in the last fifty years.
V. ARAMINI, Sicut Archivium inventum fuit”. The Ecclesiastical Archives of Carbognano (Viterbo). New Ordering and Infomatized Inventory. Thesis, Faculty of the University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Academic Year 2005/2006.
R. CECCARELLI – O. TARTARINI, Carbognano, yesterday, today and tomorrow. 1940.
V. D’ARCANGELI, Carbognano in Tuscia Viterbese. Rome 1968. R. INNOCENTI, Carbognano. Viterbo 2001. F. MARTINELLI, Carbognano illustrated by Mr. Fioravante Martinelli. Rome, 1694. M. G. SILVESTRELLI, Cities and castles and lands of the Roman region. Rome, 1940.
Historical Archives of Carbognano, Ancient Regime Series 2/7; 2/8; Acts of the Councils. = ASCC, SAR, AD – LC Archivio Storico Comunale di Carbognano, Serie Antico Regime, 7b/3, Libro delle Entrate e delle Uscite del Camerlengo. = ASCC, SAR, LEUC