Friday, January 22, 2010


This is an article of mine which was published in Italy Magazine on Wednesday. I've posted about the bamboccioni ["big babies"] before and, as you will see from the article, now they are in the news again:

With the second lowest birth rate in Western Europe Italy may have fewer little babies than it would like but it has more than its share of big babies or bamboccioni, according to a government minister. “Bamboccione” was a coinage of former Minister of Economy and Finance Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa in 2007. The word is now commonly used to describe young adults who continue to live with their parents.

In 2008 Isae [Istituto di studi e analisi economici] estimated that 71.9% of Italians aged 20 – 30 still lived with their parents while in 2009 Istat reported that 48% of those aged between 18 and 39 were still living in the parental home from 2003 – 2007. 53% of these were men as opposed to 42% of women. The reasons for this are partly economic and partly due to the importance of family life in Italy but it cannot be denied that some young adults are reluctant to leave the comfort of the parental home.

Now Civil Service Minister Renato Brunetta has provoked fierce debate by suggesting that the government approve a law which would force young adults to live independently. This proposal has not been exactly welcomed, even among members of Mr Brunetta’s own party and Legislative Simplification Minister Roberto Calderoli has accused his colleague [not very politely] of acting inappropriately.Minister of Defence Ignazio La Russa has admitted that he left home at the age of 27 and Mr Brunetta himself did not flee the parental nest until he was 30. In a jibe that was – well, babyish – Senator Giuliana Carlino [Pd – IdV] asked whether Mr Brunetta, who is small in stature, “lives in Smurfland”.

The bamboccioni issue has excited the media again following a case in Bergamo in which a father was ordered to maintain his 32-year-old daughter at a cost of 350 euros per month while she continues working on a thesis eight years after graduating.

However, Italy may not be the only country with a surfeit of bamboccioni: two years ago an Italian magazine suggested that the biggest bamboccione of them all is none other than the heir to the British throne.

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Rosaria Williams said...

Interesting. It must be a bit of culture and a bit of economics working here.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Its not just in Italy, it is a big thing here too!! They cannot afford to leave..or if they think they can, they end up returning home. If the parents don't mind, I am sure it is OK..but I am sure it puts a strain on relationships.

Whispering Walls said...

LOL! I'm sure the Duchess of Cornwall would disgree

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, lakeviewer. Yes, a bit of both. Hi, Anne. Interesting to know it's now happening over there too. I'm sure she would,WW.

Lucia said...

It's over here too! Believe me, it's cheaper to live at home until your married then move out ofyour parents home...I remembered threatening to move out in my 20's my mother would say "not til your married"...thank goodness I got married before 30.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Gosh, Lucia - over there, too!


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