Mammoni – Mamma’s Boys in Italy

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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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22 Responses

  1. I saw the 60 Minutes piece on this and it cracked me up. These guys are all looking for a woman just like Mom. Fresh squeezed OJ with waffles and bacon for breakfast. A closet full of pressed suits and not a bit of dust on their dresser. Oh yes, the prospective wife must do all the things the mother did for him as well as earn her own living and provide for any children they might have. After all, he would not want to lower his standard of living to marry. . . Not to worry, when mother passes on they may have to shop themselves around to get married. And good luck to them!

    • Anonymous

      I agree to all of the above; however, this not only goes on in Italy, it’s been happening right here in the good ole United States. I don’t know that maybe if I had an Italian son, I might do the same thing. However, I am an American mother with five daughters!

    • I have allot of famglia in Italy & I liked this blog about the Mamma’s Boys in Italy! Also here in the United States we have “Mamma’s Boys as you call it” well, since we have lived here since 1979 I have found other men like myself who fall into that heading! However, it’s different situation’s for many of us! The reality for me is I have chosen to have my now 82 yrld Mamma with me, my Mamma has always loved me unconditionally, even when she found out I was a man who was not going to marry a women, she still loved me all the way! Ever since I was alive and young and remember my father whipping, punching and abusing and verbally degrading her and treating her like punching bag, my loving Mamma did not deserve this abuse and she endured for 33 years, I have loved and protected her for the past 23 years of my life and have no regrets at all, I know I am so lucky I have had and still do thank God to this day such an incredible and loving mother!
      Sadly not to long ago I had a realtor friend of mine who is Italian and she had her Mamma in a nursing home and sadly after her Mamma passed on, the Nursing would not allow her to see her body and later they had found that her Mamma was so abused that her death was caused by the abuse , they would punch and hit her and when she e-mailed me the photo, it was horrible and this has destroyed her, it was proven in court and she won the court case, but at what cost? you can not put a price on your Mamma! my Mamma is not a piece of meat or beast that another human being is going to harm! this is happening here in the united Sates more than statistics are saying! So for you who are going to place your parents in a home, you might want to think twice! Yes, I am sure there are good nursing home, one must do research and you must visit the as much as possible!

      Also, what I found out in life and have learned is “Never fall in love with the wrong person!” I did this one time and will not do it ever again, one must get to know a person very well and it takes allot of time to do this! In our lives at times humanity likes to give others “Titles” sadly although one gives another a ‘Title” it is not fair to do so unless you really know about that person or person’s, and that go’s in every walk of life with so many out there in our world ! Live life the way you were born to do and have no regrets! I know sadly there are people out there that have had Mamma’s that have loved there child only with conditions and it is horrible and this happens more often I feel here in the United Sates as I have met many who have had mothers who in some case’s really should have not given birth, they play 2 faces with others about there child, this is not love, this is judgment, children need love all they way the second they come into this world! For the new Mamma’s that give birth I have to say ” Love your child all the way no matter what he or she do’s in her or his life, and love them truly unconditionally” Amore sempre ! Claudio D’Agostino Sculptor

      • Claudio, I truly appreciate your taking the time to comment and give us your perspective on this subject. I respect you obvious love for your mamma and also your words of wisdom on family life. Thank you so much for reading and following my blog. I am happy to connect with you here.

  2. I have found the answer to life

    Besides them living at home and being mammoni”s, is it possible that in being at home the parents also find rest in knowing that someone is there to help them, rather than in our society finding the children packing parents off to a nursing home and then ignoring them?

  3. Anonymous

    Canada’s mangia cakes are JUST AS BAD!

  4. Its a sickness. Pure absolute demented behaviour. It is a disservice to the children to learn how to be self sufficient. Grow up Mothers. Get some psych help.

    • Not only it is a diservice but also these women “teach” their sons to see women as enemies that will want to manipulate them. No wonder that the cultures where mothers are manipulative have so much macho men.

  5. Margie, this video is very enlightening….however, one of the guys did say that their society is not and individualistic one, where here in the U.S. we are very independent. As much as I love him, I cannot imagine my 29 year old son expecting me to cook, clean, make his bed and do his laundry/ironing! On the other hand, the mediterranean culture is so much warmer, people-oriented and gregarious. You have family no matter what….and family means everything.

  6. Yes it seems to be a common part of life there and actually benefits both the son and the mamma. When I was there I asked a young married taxi driver about this, and he validated that unless you have a job in another city or get married the expectation is to live at home, and it is worse for daughters.

    • Dear Margie, I liked your blog, this Mammoni Title can cover so many situations of Mothers who have there adult son at home when they are in there 30, 40 & 50’s and so on, the reality is each situation is different , many who are not in our feet will look at it as a negative situation ( I would agree with that when the Mamma do’s all the cleaning, laundry and do’s all the cooking, thankfully I have a Mamma who has taught me to be independent and I have been doing the laundry , cleaning the home and we have been taking turns when it comes to cooking, she do’s not do all the cooking for me ) my Mamma has Epilepsy and I have been her caregiver for the past 23 years and have no regrets about that choice I made way back! You only have one mother in this world and I know I have done the right things ( not many can stand up to the plate and looking at the past 23 years, my Mamma and I have had a very good life, I know if I out live her, I can look back and say to myself, I was a lucky man to have had such a wonderful loving Mamma who loved all her children unconditionally and in such a lovely way ) people out there who feel this is a sickness or look at it as a negative way of life do not and will not ever understand because they are not in that situation, so they feel they can say it’s a bad way of life when in fact in some case’s like mine, we are actually very happy and have a wonderful fulfilling way of life. What I have also found is that just because there are people who are out there in a partnership who look happy, at times they hide there true feelings and at time some are in bad partnership. So many life situations we could talk forever really!!! the only thing I will say now is ” La Vita Bella ” Life is beautiful !!!!

  7. […] (and thanks to the blog MARGIE IN ITALY for writing about this phenomenon in the first place!) […]

  8. […] in a while it’s downright comical in a “holy shit,” kind of way. F isn’t Mammoni, but when my MIL is around she takes full advantage of her time by being ever-present, kind of like […]

  9. We talk about this in our Italian class…so true!

  10. […] years ago I wrote a post titled Mammoni – Mamma’s Boys in Italy and today it ranks as my most popular post.  Mammoni, a term applied to single Italian men who […]

  11. […] years ago I wrote a post  about an Italian lifestyle titled Mammoni – Mamma’s Boys in Italy and today it ranks as my most popular post.  Mammoni, a term applied to single Italian men who […]

  12. Andreana

    I’m a Californian. Last year I had the opportunity to live and study in Firenze. I can report that the next generation of mammoni are being groomed at an early age. I commented several times to the Fiorentini that I thought it was unusual that all the boys, even 8-9 year olds, rode to school on the backs of their mothers’ bicycles, rather than on their own bicycles. The mothers were dressed in business attire! There are several theories as to why this is the case, such as school security, etc., but the most common answer I received to my query was a shoulder shrug and “mammoni.” Mammismo is alive and well🇮🇹

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