We Americans seem to find laundry hanging from suspended clothes lines romantic, even artistic. In Italy, necessity drives the chore from electric dyring machine to the outdoors.
Electric dryers are rare in Italy--only about 3 or 4 percent of Italians own one. The reason? Italy imports most of its electricity. And, since dryers (second only to refrigerators) are electricity guzzlers, it goes without saying that it's just not worth the cost to own and operate one. Additionally, most households don't have a sufficient supply of kilowatts to run a washer and a dryer at the same time. Doing so, would overload the circuit breaker. Yes, they could up their supply, but let's compare that to a typical American home equipped with a washer, dryer, dishwasher and air-conditioning units. An Italian home equipped with the same might face a $5,000 annual electric bill. Yikes--especially considering the size of an average home is no bigger than an apartment!
So the next time you admire the colorful array of fabrics hanging from an Italian window sill, take time to also admire the fact that Italians use less energy per capita than we Americans do. And after reviewing my latest electric bill, I'm rethinking tossing my next load into the dryer!
Have you paid the cost to do laundry in Italy? I'd love to hear about it!