Quaint Il Lavatoio: Staying in an Italian Wash House in Castel di Sangro

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If you enjoy traveling Italy as much as Alan and I do, part of the reason is probably those quaint accommodations that ooze with charm. We certainly found that to be true on a stay in Castel di Sangro in the province of L’Aquilla. Read our Il Lavatoio review to find out why we quickly added this lovely bed and breakfast to our favorite places to stay in Italy list. 

Il Lavatoio Review

Il Lavatoio in Castel di Sangro
A white stucco building with red tiled roof and terrace hosting pots of red flowers make Il Lavatoio a charming place to stay in Castel di Sangro.

“You’ll be staying in a converted wash house, but it’s quite charming,” Claudio Fontana of A La Carte Italy Tours told us in an email discussion about Il Lavatoio, our lodging choice at Castel di Sangro in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. It would be the first night of a ten-day Southern Italy road trip and, of course, Alan and I were looking forward to a pleasant beginning.

Why were we spending the night at Il Lavatoio in Castel di Sangro when it’s nowhere near Italy’s heel—the focus of our boomer road trip? Every journey has to start somewhere.

Ours began when Alan and I flew into the Rome airport, which meant we had to drive across Italy to reach Rodi Garganico on the Adriatic Coast, the real beginning of our journey in southern Italy. We recommend exploring Rome for a few days before heading out on the road.

Arriving in Castel di Sangro is part of the charm

Wide stone steps lead up to a stone building with an arched entrance in Castel di Sangro.
Boomer travel in Italy. Visit the historic town of Castel di Sangro to begin your road trip in Italy. Be sure to add this charming Italian to your boomer vacation plans.

Should our itinerary have included a longer stay in Castel di Sangro? Probably. Alan and I were both charmed from the moment Claudio drove the van up the hilly streets in the historical section of the town—population 6,000+.

The bells of Santa Maria Assunta chimed as Claudio parked in front if Il Lavatoio. And they would continue to chime for every hour of our stay.

Appreciating architecture and history at Il Lavatoio

Marble wash basin decorates the lobby at Il Lavatoio.
Original marble wash basin at Il Lavatoio holds historical artifacts from the site.

Upon entering the white stucco building with the red tile roof, Alan and I discovered that history resides in a room just off the lobby. The marble wash tubs of Castel di Sangro have been restored and are surrounded by the original rock walls of the wash house.

Artifacts—recovered from the property—are artfully displayed inside the wash tubs. And a gallery of photos documents the town’s history, including some impressive winter snow scenes.

Speaking of history, there’s a reason the wash house at Castel di Sangro needed to be restored. Through the years, wars and earthquakes damaged the town. The last devastation occurred when the Germans heavily bombed Castel di Sangro during World War II.

Modern accommodations in a historical building

Looking down the hill, narrow buildings line the small lane at Castel di Sangro, with mountains rising in the distance.
The narrow lanes in Castel di Sangro.

While the setting is historical, the rooms at Il Lavatoio contain every modern convenience necessary for a comfortable night’s stay including complimentary wifi, mini bar and flat screen TV. The sleek furnishings offer a modern contrast to the lobby area.

Breakfast is included in the rate. And the choices of cold cuts, cheese, Italian cakes, croissants, and cook-your-own eggs and toast are enough to fuel an active day on the road—washed down by delicious Italian cappuccinos, of course.

For dinner, walk down the hill to L’Artigiano Della Ducina. We did and it was a delicious first meal in Italy.

Things to do in Castel di Sangro

Our stay in Castel di Sangro was an overnight stop on the way to Rodi Garganico. But next time, we’ll:

Has this article inspired your next trip to Italy? Start planning at our Italy Travel Planner page.

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