Many buildings in Venice are topped with wooden terraces, known as altane. The altana was put to a variety of uses: it was a place to dry clothes, to take a breath of fresh air, or to enjoy a moment in the sun.
The altana was also used by the ladies of the house to help them lighten the colour of their hair to a more fashionable tint, known as biondo veneziano. They would apply a type of shampoo (the ingredients of which included urine) and sit out on the altana, wearing broad-brimmed hats with no crowns. They spread their wet tresses over the brims and let the sun work its magic.
Blogging about Venice:
its art, history & culture.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England.
Since 200I I have been living in Italy, where I run private tours of Florence, Rome &
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