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  • Writer's pictureMark Tedesco

Our Italian Adventure: Dryer or No Dryer?

Updated: Jul 8

PART 98: It might be interesting to share how we pulled off living in Italy for part of the year. I will post some steps and what we are learning along the way.


We love every minute of it, and what was once a dream is our life!


We live in Tuscany in the Fall, then back again in the Spring, and in California for the rest of the time (in a previous blog, I explained why we live in Italy only part of the year).


Step 1: As we explore areas in Italy, we are discovering some gems that are worth sharing. Some are well-known tourist magnets, and others are lesser-known but always amazing.



This week let's stay close to home and explore whether we need a clothes dryer in our house in Tuscany.


Step 2: It didn't take long to discover that most Italian households do not have a dryer. Whether because of electricity costs or the preference to dry laundry in the fresh air, most go without a dryer and do not miss it. But as two Californians establishing a life in Italy, what about us?


Step 3: "We don't need a dryer," I told my partner once we purchased a house in Italy. "We can hang things outside in the summer, and in the rainy season, we can dry them on an electric clothesline. I have it all figured out!"


In Puglia, we used to dry clothes on the terrace during the summer and hang them over our radiators in the winter. Since it was common to burn fields in our area throughout the year, many times out clothes hanging outside would take on the smell of smoke and we would have to wash them over again. During the rainy season we were tired of having damp clothes all over the house.


The electric heating clothesline that I bought seemed to be the perfect solution.


Step 4: The electric clothesline


The idea of a heating element embedded in an indoor clothesline sounded amazing. I would just need to hang my clothes on the clothesline, turn it on, and in about 30 minutes, they would be dry.

Right?


Wrong.


After my clothes remained damp even after hanging on the clothesline for hours, I decided to read the instructions. It turned out that in order for the heating element to work, the clothes needed to be spread across the top of the clothesline. However, with just two t-shirts across, all the space was already occupied, and I still had pants, socks, underwear, and five more t-shirts to dry.


"Maybe I can lay them on top of each other, and the heat from underneath will dry them all," I thought.

Right?


Wrong.


Through trial and error, I found that the electric clothesline can dry a couple of t-shirts or a pair of pants in about 4 hours. I had no idea how much electricity it was using, and drying such a small amount at a time wouldn't work.


So now the clothesline sits in a corner of our attic.


Step 5: The laundromat

"I don't mind going to the laundromat once a week. I can even do your clothes if you want," I said to my partner after we got rid of the clothesline. It didn't seem like a big deal, since the washers at the laundromat in Italy take about 30 minutes, and drying takes about 45.



We discovered a great laundromat in a nearby town and started going there every Monday afternoon. Since we had a lot of laundry each week, we typically used all four washing machines and two large dryers.


Doing the laundry, which includes loading the car, sorting, washing, drying, putting the clothes back in the laundry bags, and going back and forth to the car, took up the entire afternoon. So, going to the laundromat consumed one whole afternoon every week when we were in Italy (we stay there for 2-3 months at a time).


After a month of this weekly ritual, we reassessed our situation. Time in Italy is so precious and we have a lot of things that we wanted to do besides sit in a laundromat.


We decided that we needed another solution.


Step 6: The dryer

In the end, we arrived at a solution that would fit us. We will buy a dryer.


We visited our local electronic store and Euronics to explore our dryer options. We must stack it on top of our washer, which has a nonstandard depth. Yes," they said, "we can get that for you." But we don't have a way to vent the dryer to the outside. "That's no problem; most dryers we sell are like that," they replied. "The door has to open from the left side because of the wall," we insisted. "Well, that is more complicated. Let's look." They looked and found one, though they are rare with that nonstandard depth.


We found the dryer we wanted but had to leave for California in a few days. "Can it be delivered by Thursday?" we inquired. Their response was, "No, it usually takes about 2 weeks."


So we found our dryer and we are going to order it the day after we return to Tuscany.


It feels like we came full circle!


Insights:

Balancing what we are used to in our own culture with adapting to what is common in another culture is an art learned through experience. We tried non-dryer options and ultimately decided that owning our own dryer will free up precious time and simplify the basic task of keeping clothes clean.


More next time.


Now on sale for $2.99: My book is "Stories from Puglia: Two Californians in Southern Italy." Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CRKMKPWF?ref_=cm_sw_r_cp_ud_dp_X2WRQ3PTG2ZDD7AVF6GH


Amazon Italy- my book "Lei mi ha sedotto. Una storia d'amore con Roma": https://amzn.eu/d/13nuZCL.

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Guest
Jul 13

Thanks for writing this. We’re hoping to move to Italy next summer and have had questions about this. You’re saved us a few steps!

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Mark Tedesco
Mark Tedesco
Jul 14
Replying to

Fantastic! Glad to hear that the blog helps some people out. Thanks.

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ldemelis
Jul 07

My two cents. The dryer you are going to buy may not work as well as you'd like either. If you don't have space for a vented dryer (many Italians don't), the kind of dryer you get is what is called a "water extraction" dryer - instead of blowing hot air, it extracts water more like a super spin cycle. Many Americans find that, compared to the typical US dryer, it takes a long time and still leaves clothes damp. And you have to empty the water reservoir regularly - not difficult, but it's unexpected for people used to American dryers.


We don't have a dryer in our apartment, but we do have a line and pulley system, where you…

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Mark Tedesco
Mark Tedesco
Jul 07
Replying to

Great tip and thank you! Yes a friend of mine has an Italian dryer and it takes much longer. Since we have exhausted every option, we are hoping that the dryer option will clinch it. Thanks!

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