Thing #2: Hanging out

I spent last weekend in Liguria at a typical little seaside town called Varazze. And as it’s not my intention to turn this into a travel blog, I’m simply going to tell you about five things that struck me while I was there. Here’s the second thing.

When I moved to Italy, my husband-to-be didn’t have a dryer in the apartment. I thought this was the ultimate in backward thinking and female servitude. Instead, he had an antenna-like contraption that extended over the half bathtub in the laundry room. We hung our laundry after washing, flung open the courtyard window, and waited until our undies or sheets were dry. Now, thirteen years later, I hate our dryer, recognizing it for the energy-hog and clothes-destroyer that it really is. We hang things whenever possible, relying on the heat from the radiator to do the trick. Funny how some people change…

…and how others stay exactly the same. Apparently, in Liguria, they never suffered this lapse into wrong-headed modern thinking. They knew all along that the place to hang your once-dirty-now-clean unmentionables was outside your window where everyone could see them. With good reason. Italian underwear designers like La Perla and those crazy Dolce & Gabbana boys are always creating beautiful underwear for just the occasion. Furthermore, with whitening products up to the standards of the Italian house-keeper on the market, laundry hanging all’aperto elicits oohs and aaahs of domestic jealousy not of thinly-veiled disapproval.

And let’s be honest. A good line of long johns (or what have you) displayed in front of your house adds a certain “je ne sais quoi.” One feels that the air must be fresh and safe to breath. One is happy to see that all parts of life—even the most privately banal—are worth appreciating in the public arena. (As for secrets: in towns so small, who really has them anyway?)

Assuming that you, like me, do not have the pleasure of owning an ochre-colored villa with weathered, green shutters four steps from the singing Mediterranean Sea, but would like to try on the Ligurian mindset for a test-drive, I’ve included a “Ligurian Window Kit.” Until the next installment…happy hanging!

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7 Responses to Thing #2: Hanging out

  1. Mary McKinley says:

    Beautiful, Charlotte! I haven’t owned a dryer in nearly 20 years now and the only thing I miss is fluffy towels, though not so much that I’d get a dryer. In France, in town, one doesn’t hang things out on the street side but most people have an inner courtyard for it.

  2. LOL about the towels. We hang everything in France too…and the towels are like plywood…but everything else is great. Almost pre-ironed, even.

  3. undies’ texture as a measure of……anything is kinda funny. so, fluffiness? have we come to this as the pinnacle of evolution? what IS luxurious and necessary? here in the u.s., i’m constantly making the debate, the argument, the defense. and when does a habit become….necessary.

    i love — LOVE! — red wine.

  4. bagnidilucca says:

    I have never owned a dryer. We rarely need one in Queensland, although most people have them. I don’t use one in Italy either. When we have sun I dry things on the tiny balcony on a drying frame. When it is cold I put it in front of the heater. It all works well.

  5. Pingback: Closed/Week in review—5 days in Liguria | The Daily Cure

  6. Neal says:

    Hi Charlotte!
    This is Neal from Thanks for the comment on the Modican chocolate! I just started checking out your blog and love it. I added it to my subscriptions. This post is especially cute. When I was living in Italy, I went through the same change of attitude regarding drying my clothes. LOL. There is something very sweet and beautiful in the simplicity of hanging one’s clothes to dry. I also love your photography and graphics! Would you be interested in doing a link exchange with us? I would be happy to post your link on our site. Let me know.

  7. Pingback: The trick to being prime minister | The Daily Cure

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