The Art of Laundry

Hanging Laundry in Venice

If it falls – you’re in trouble.

Drying your clothes is an art form in Venice, not only an art form, but you must be technically qualified, or your clothing ends up in your downstairs neighbors patio, the small streets or worse yet in the canal to be washed out into the Adriatic. It brings new meaning to “pin it”.

Each upstairs apartment is furnished with a line which extends from their window to a neighboring building, or sometimes just installed on the side of the building (see picture below). You have only a small space to launch your wet and dripping clothes, towels, and intimate apparel out the window.

Hanging Laundry to Dry is a Challenge

Laundry on the Side of the Building

The clothes lines are on pulleys and therein lies the technical difficulties. Which way to you begin pinning your laundry. That depends on where the end of this loop of lines is hiding.  The line is in a loop, top and bottom and you pin, then pull the line theoretically for more empty space. Therefore you can only go so far. Can’t tell you how many times been hanging out the window to get the clothes pinned only to discover that I can’t move the clothes line any farther because I started on the wrong end of the loop.

These Murano residents are lucky, they have a garden and a clothesline.

Garden and Clothes Line!

Then there is the embarassing moment when my failure to pin “properly” results in some piece of my clothing depositing itself on the bottom floor garden – or worse yet when all my towels fell on the little calle behind the apartment. It’s a sure-fire way to meet your neighbors, who will certainly know you were not born in Venice or Murano. Not that in this picture, these lucky Muranese living on the ground floor have a garden complete with clothesline, efficient!

Rules:1) Rotate the clothes line so it stops nearest you (the end of the circle). 2) Lean carefully out the window, with only one (1) article and the clothes pins (la molletta) tucked in your hand. 3)Drape the laundry over the line, being absolutely sure that it won’t fall in that critical moment as you are about to put your molletta on the laundry.

Retrieving the dried laundry involves the same hazards. Be sure to take all the clothes pins in when your laundry is dried.