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Living With Parents At 36: Interview

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January 25, 2010 Cultural Musings, Culture & People No Comments

The case of young (or not-so-young) italians living at home is generating a lot of international media interest right now, especially as one italian minister is now provocatively calling for a new law forcing young italians to leave their parents’ homes at 18. The Guardian has just published an interview by John Hooper with 36-year-old Maurizio Schiavi, living in Rome with his parents.

An excerpt:

If the minister knows how to pay for it, I’d welcome a law ­forbidding over-18s from staying at home. I’m a trained sound engineer. I’ve lived alone and abroad. I’ve been married and divorced. But here I am, back with my mother and father at age 36.

Like a lot of people in the ­music business, I’ve been hit by the recession. I’m short of work. In my industry, the state will pay 70% of my previous ­salary for six months. After that, ­nothing. Overall, the welfare payments are a fraction of what you get in the UK. We work. We pay our taxes. And then we’re left high and dry by the state when we need it. Italians have no option but to turn to the family.

Although I get on well with my parents, it’s not easy ­fitting into a family life I thought I’d left behind. I’m a good cook, but my parents are very ­traditional. My father is 77. My mother is 72. They belong to a generation in which the man went out to work and the woman looked after the house. My mother is very attached to that role and will not let anyone usurp it. If only I was allowed to cook!

In other countries, perhaps, people might think you were living at home because you had problems or couldn’t cope with real life. But here, because living with your parents is so widespread, it’s entirely socially acceptable. It certainly doesn’t cause me any problem with my friends. As for my parents, they lived with my father’s parents so it’s normal for them. They have no objection to the fact that my girlfriend is living with me at the moment. She’s treated as one of the family. (…)

Read the entire article here.

What do you think? Do you believe that young italians want to leave their homes but are faced with unusual difficulties? Is the italian state to blame for the situation that more than 50% of Italians aged 18 to 34 still live at home with their parents, as suggested by the interview? Tell us in the comments.

Why Italy’s mamma’s boys can’t cut the ties (The Guardian)

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