Mammoni, Mamma’s boy, is a term applied to single Italian men who are still living at home with their mothers. Many of these men are professionals with jobs. This is actually a common way of life in Italy, and more than half of the young men still live at home in Italy. In the 18-34 age group almost 60 percent of all single people, men and women are living at home in Italy. And many of these men are in their 40’s and 50’s!
My friends from Sicily, Angela, Teresa, and Angelica, tell me this is true and this is why the marriage rate is down in Italy. I actually had several conversations while I was in Italy with young men who were married, and they validated the fact that unless a young man is married or working in another city, he lives at home with his family.
Several years ago Lesley Stahl, one of America’s most experienced broadcast journalists, did an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes. The show is a perfect depiction of this part of the Italian culture. And the mothers like it too, despite the fact that they are doing all the work. This situation has a name…it’s called Mammismo. They like having their sons at home. Even after a young man does get married, he still lives within a very close proximity to his mother, and she very well may still be doing his laundry.
While the 60 Minutes video is not accessible without a subscription, I have located the transcript. During the segment, Stahl explains that they found one guy in Italy who had gotten married and moved away, yet still sends his laundry home by bus for his mother to do. “Federico sends it home by bus. And she sends it back. It’s a six-hour ride. It arrives washed, ironed, and perfect.”
Franco Ferrarotti, an Italian sociologist, who has been described as “the father of Italian sociology,” appeared on the show. When he was asked if this lifestyle was normal, he replied, “It is normal from an Italian point of view. You know why? Because the family in this country is still a powerful, an essential, institution. A family is there to stay forever, and the mother, the mother is the center. The pivot of the family.”
And these Italian men in Italy really don’t care if someone labels them “mammoni.” They know they have a good thing going.
You have to love the Italians!
What are your thoughts?
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