Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 20, 2012

Hung out to dry

Many people in Italy live in apartments and houses without backyards. Washing hangs proudly from buildings for all the world to see. I love it.




























  1. Colorful! I would never have thought of photographing this.

    • These colourful displays are all over Italy.

  2. They are works of art, Tracy Emin watch out!

    • I think so too, but the younger Italians are not happy about it.

  3. We returned just recently from 2 months in our beloved Italy, and the first thing I wanted to do upon returning was to hug my clothes dryer!

    • How funny! I have never owned a dryer.

  4. Oops sorry Debra didn’t mean to be anonymous I’m using a new device and forgot I hadn’t entered my details!

  5. Oh, yes, the lines are so pretty!!!! In Sicily it’s an art form (sadly, I’m no good at it.)

    • It clearly takes years of practice.

  6. Fab Undies!

    • I had to include the single pair of undies. I had fun collecting my washing photos.

  7. Yes, I did notice this, Debra. Great photos. If I wore bloomers that size, I’d dry them in the bathroom. πŸ˜†

    • She is clearly proud of her clean, white knickers.

      • Clearly! πŸ˜€

  8. Yes those Nona Knickers make a great shot

    • I was pretty happy with that one.

  9. I loved the photos, I took many myself on a trip to Italy, I also had to buy a line and pegs when there to hang out my own clothes, but kept the undies in the bathroom

    • We have a drying frame which I put on the balcony in Italy. I put the undies to the back.

  10. I love these kinds of pictures too! I had to laugh though at the giant white undies!!!! πŸ™‚ great shots!

    • I love the tangle of clothes in the Naples photos…..and the black pants next to the Madonna.

  11. Reblogged this on The Italian South and commented:
    Here’s a fun photo post from “Bagni di Lucca and Beyond”–a very familiar sight all over Italy! Thanks, Debra and Liz!

    • Thank you for the reblog.

  12. Best to embrace the washing, it is a way of life there, love it when you see old ladies bloomers flapping in the breeze.

    • I wonder about the sheets flapping against the side of the houses. They must get a bit dusty.

  13. Ah, i love it too, and you’ve assembled a great collection Debra, including nona’s knickers πŸ™‚ The engineering’s amazing sometimes, though I’ve never been able to pull the lens in to show exactly how some of them work, especially the ones that fly out across the street.

    • I think it is a pretty simple pulley system. I rarely see anyone actually hanging anything out, but it is always there.

      • I wonder if it’s because I’m a purve, but I used to often catch the peg and thrust action – but I’m sure you’re right that it’s a simple pulley system – just seems so improbable, flying across the street! I love that you have such a great collection πŸ™‚

  14. I love taking washing shots whenever I am in Italy though I’m not sure I be hanging my knickers out for everyone to see!

    • I’m not sure I want everyone to see mine either.

  15. The occupants of the balcony in the fourth photo seem to have a storeage problem too.

    The single pair of undies probably belong to a tourist travelling light. Has to wash every day!

    • The fourth photo was taken in Naples, where everything is crowded, and you could be right about the undies.

  16. Somehow they seem so photogenic in Italy, particularly in Venice! I hate seeing laundry hanging out of buildings here πŸ™‚ Love the knicker shot πŸ™‚

    • It seems to look right in Italy. Washing is not permitted to be on show in most apartment buildings in Australia.

  17. I do remember there was a distinct knack to getting it all fitting on to a small drying rack, the sheets especially. Makes me want to go do some laundry…in Italy.

    • I have to squeeze everything onto a drying frame on my tiny balcony in Bagni di Lucca, but it seems to work.

  18. Love this display, fine photos!

  19. […] Many people in Italy live in apartments and houses without backyards. Washing hangs proudly from buildings for all the world to see. I love it.  […]

  20. Great colors in the shots … but to me, the buildings are still the key.

    • I took a lot more photos of washing, but if the building supporting the washing wasn’t interesting, I didn’t use the photo.

  21. The single pair of pants made me laugh.. it reminds me of my neighbour, Stefano!

    • Perhaps they do belong to Stefano.

  22. Laundry hanging from balconies is one of my favorite things about Italy (gelato is another). Your pictures are fantastic!

    • I love to see the washing flapping in the breeze.

  23. I always thought hanging clothes outside homes to dry was a very Indian thing. Very few people have dryers at home. Love the last picture!

    • That one was taken from the bridge in front of my apartment.

  24. This is how we do it in the Philippines. πŸ˜€ You have to risk having your clothes getting carried by the wind …. or snatched by other people … esp. your delicates …. bwahahahahahahaha

    • Mostly the lines in Italy are too high to worry about theft.

  25. Love the photos! So colourful : )

  26. I used to hang my washing out in public view until someone stole a pair of my undies – I don’t care about the undies being taken but I would like the 12 pegs returned.

  27. Dear Debra, you captured so beautiful photographs, I am glad to learn that I am not alone on this subject. I love to take hanging washing things in the streets or etc. How inspirational… I love to watch them…. In modern world especially in the modern cities, they don’t let anymore to hang our washing clothes to the balconies or windows… I am afraid they will be a nostalgia in soon…. Thank you so much, fascinated me these Italian style hanging washings… Love, nia

    • We live in an apartment in Brisbane and washing is not to be visible from the street. Luckily we have a private balcony at the side where we can hang washing. There really isn’t much option in Italy, so I can’t see things changing there any time soon.

  28. Reblogged this on photographyofnia.

  29. I love too that they are not ashamed of their wash. πŸ™‚

    • Everybody has washing, hang it proudly.

  30. Heehee! Cute post, love the white knickers. There’s a lady on our street that does the same.

    • You have to hang them somewhere.

  31. i like the one with the tree

    • That was taken in Lugliano, one of the villages of Bagni di Lucca. The house is very high on a hill and I love the way they have used a nearby tree to anchor the clothes line.

  32. Wonderful photos, I have a fetish for hanging laundry as photo object – I love every one of them.
    My favorite is the one with the single knickers –brilliant.

  33. Those are fun shots. Thanks for the post.

    • Thank you for visiting.

  34. I love Italy nickers and all.

  35. Hehe how fabulous! I remember looking up in Hong Kong and seeing all the laundry there-it wasn’t quite as colourful as this laundry though!

    • Italians are stylish in all areas.

  36. The first time I did laundry in our new second home in Sicily, I was mortified to hang my underwear out on the line on the balcony. Mostly I didn’t want people to see how huge they were – I admit it, I wear granny panties! This didn’t do much for my bella figura! But I have come to the conclusion that laundry is exempt from the whole bella figura thing. I love your photos – especially the last one with the reflection!

    • My undies are not tiny either. I usually put them to the back of my drying frame, but I think you are correct, anything goes with laundry on the line.

  37. It’s funny how the Knicker Shot gets the most comments – both in terms of everyone enjoying it AND not being prepared to hang theirs out for public display. I know mine wouldn’t be out there!!

    • I do love the shot of the undies, but prefer the last photo of our river.

  38. Love these!

    • I will miss looking for laundry photos….perhaps I will have to do laundry 2.

  39. Great images Debra. I took a few my last trip in 2010. Naples is great for laundry. Cheers, Mary Louise

    • Naples is a wonderful jumble of ancient houses, people, delicious food…..and washing.

      • Veramente!

  40. What lovely photos! Well done!

  41. A lovely series of photos. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you. I love to see the washing flapping against the side of ancient buildings.

Leave a Reply