A tour of the Patounis Soap Factory is a not-to-be-missed event when you are on the island. This is the only traditional soap factory that still operates in Greece and one of the few in the world.
After contacting the factory, which has been operating continously since 1891, you can arrange a tour of the premises that have preserved with the traditional apparatus and constitute a living memory of a significant local tradition. The family business is a subject of academic studies, although it also attracts visitors from both the tourist and educational sectors. In 2008 it was declared a listed monument of industrial heritage with the Greek Ministry of Culture.
During the tour, you will be introduced to the world of soap. You will be shown the tools and apparatus that are used to produce it and the production stages. At the premises, you will see old heating pots and the visitor will be able to see how this equipment has advanced over time, while appreciating the technique that remains unchanged. Throughout the tour you will be informed about the soap factory's history, which dates back to the early 19th century when the Batzakis and Patounis families from Kalarrytes, traded in woolen capes to supply the army of Napoleon III. With the money they earned, they bought soap from Marseilles and sold it in Greece. They then learnt the manufacturing secrets and decided to make it themselves. In 1850 they founded their own soap factory on the island of Zakynthos under the name “Spyros Bazakis & Co”. According to available records, this was the first Greek soap factory. As time went by and the soap factory flourished in Greece, the business expanded to the island of Corfu, where the second soap factory was established in 1891 and has been operating non-stop since then.
If you are lucky, your tour may be conducted by Apostolos Patounis himself, the heir of this tradition, which will make it a more sentimental and personal experience.