Via Porta Fontevecchia

Here in Spello, my address is on Via Porta Fontevecchia. “Via” means “street,” and “Porta” is “door.” In this case, it is actually one of the old doors through the city walls, now just a one-way, one lane cobblestone street descending steeply downhill to the valley floor. The city wall runs by about three buildings downhill from mine, but no door of any sort is left, probably dating from the time when Spello was “Hispellum,” under Julius Caesar, and is said to have been the geographic center of the Roman Empire at the time.

The Fontevecchia

About the Fontevecchia—“fonte” means “fountain,” and “vecchia” means “old,” so there is an old fountain near the opening in the city wall, and I love the charming place.

Spring water flows all year from Mount Subasio to the wash tubs

Under the tiled roof, protected from the rain, there are two deep stone tubs with spring water running into them around the clock. The left tub is for soaping up laundry and agitating it, and the right tub is the rinse water.

Looking back uphill toward my house

This fountain has been in use by the women of this town for centuries—and I’d love to know how many centuries, exactly. In fact, I have passed by and seen women washing comforters and rugs in the “fonteveccia”—things too large to wash in the washing machine at home, so they get a ride down to the fountain for hand-washing in spring water.

Still in use today for hand-washing large items

THAT is your vocabulary lesson for today! I love this street!

(An update on my Mother and her hip replacement: She was home from the rehab facility in time for Thanksgiving, and a household of nearly 40 Colwell family members coming to share the holiday meal together. I sincerely regret being here and missing it, but had this trip planned and ticketed long before I knew of the plans for a really big reunion at Thanksgiving. She is doing very well, with assistance morning and evening with her exercises and some daily routines, and is surprising everyone with her lack of pain and her commitment to get back on her feet, and back to her life before her fall.)

1 comment to Via Porta Fontevecchia

  • CherylSummers

    How does one say “Old Broad Abroad” in Italian? Glad to hear your Mom is doing well and looking forward to seeing you next week! A lovely blog!

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