The bamboccioni generation: young Italians living at home, by Carmine Landolfi

Do you want to know something more about Italian society? Well, keep on reading, because here I describe the Italian phenomenon of bamboccioni, grown-up men and women still living at home with their parents. I also try to analyse the reasons behind this situation. The main culprits are obviously the economic difficulties due to the recent economic crisis. This situation has further increased this phenomenon, placing Italy among the leading countries in the world for the number of young adults still living at home, but this is not the only factor.

In these years Italy is facing the worst economic crisis of the post-war period: unemployment has risen to its highest level ever and finding a job has become increasingly difficult. For those who have a job, things aren’t going well either, considering that most young people earn only €1,000 a month or less, creating the so-called generation of milleuristi, which refers to workers earning one thousand euros a month (mille euro in Italian). So, to recap, lack of jobs and low wages are among the main causes for the high number of young people still living with their parents, but, as I’ve said, this is not the only reason.

There is also a cultural reason. Family has always been central in Italian society and parents don’t usually encourage their children to leave home when they’re adults, but rather they convince them to stay! The undisputed protagonist of family life is the mamma. Italian mothers are famous for the almost obsessive way in which they take care of their children, especially their sons: mums tend to turn Italian men into big kids and for them their mother will always be the most important woman in their lives. And this will certainly make their future wives happy, as they will always be compared to their annoying mothers-in-law. So, strong family values and over-possessive and intrusive mothers are other key factors for the failure of many young Italian men and women to achieve independence from their family.

I don’t know if this situation should be considered a huge problem because I believe that maintaining close family ties has many positive aspects. However, I think that only an independent life can enable a person to become mature enough to face the challenges of the future. Having your own spaces and acquiring complete autonomy, with nobody telling you what you should or shouldn’t do, is the best way to grow up. An independent life might make you feel even stronger and more self-confident than living with your parents. So, Italian guys, say goodbye to your mamma and her meals and start being adults!

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Hi. I agree it is good to move into one’s own apartment but the salary range you quote sounds rather low. Are rents in Italy too high? Is gentrification causing rents to be more than 50% of one’s monthly pay before taxes? Here in the U.S. there is a rising group of young and old called “Rent Poor”. These people can be working class or middle class or even poor. Their rent takes away most of their paycheck each month. Here this is a big reason why young people don’t leave home–they just can’t afford to.

    I’d be interested in reading further details. Are your young students also carrying large loan payments, too?

    From an emotional viewpoint, an indulgent Mama could be a safe haven when considering how scary being rent poor and loan poor can be…

    Like

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