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!