The Italianist

Things That Happen in Italy

Bamboccioni Are Among Us

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Among the various characteristics typical of Italy, there is that we are always labelled as “mammoni” or, as it is becoming more and more fashionable now, “bamboccioni”. Bamboccioni is an Italian expression which broadly refers to someone who stares at things with a not too-smart face and, most of all, not a very proactive attitude. Like a big ‘bambino’, a big baby. Applied to everyday life, it is now used to indicate Italians in their late 20s-early 30s, who are still living with their parents instead of building up their own, independent existence. 

This is a serious issue in Italy: I have to say I know no one of my friends who, before being 30, moved out of their houses. Some of them moved out to study at universities in different cities, but after their degree they all came back to their home town and to their family house. I am always surprised by seeing British kids fleeing from their houses as soon as they turn 18: I also always thought that that is partly because Italians have a healthier concept of family than the Anglo-Saxon do, yet Italy’s situation is definitely too much

Different explanations are offered for this peculiar Italian feature. Some say it is the laziness of the young generation, together with mothers’ over-protective attitude towards their ‘kids’. Others say it is rather because the economy does not allow a 30-year old to start an independent life: while the cost of life skyrocketed over the last 8 years, wages remained the same, and the welfare system is not really supporting young generations in search of a stable job.

Here comes Renato Brunetta, Minister of Public Administration:


Brunetta is one of the main responsibles for the rise in the use of the label bamboccioni. He definitely sides with the first of the two possible explanations mentioned above: Italian adults are lazy and unwilling to get to grips with the responsibilities of a mamma-less life. So, last week he shot the first arrow at the bamboccioni’s chest, proposing to force them to leave their family when they turn 18.

Yesterday, he went further. With the acumen that always characterizes Italian key politicians, he claimed (during the famous gossip-Tv-program-with-lots-of -dancers-in-bikini Domenica In) that the Government should detract 500euros per month from the pension of over 55-year old parents, to be fed into a fund to support the bamboccioni’s take off towards independence.

Brunetta, who openly claim he wasn’t able to make his bed when he was 30 for he was still living with his mother who would make it for him, confessed that “ the blanket is small and there is no room for everyone under it”. And that “Italy is full of good guys, who take risk and want freedom. It’s their parents’ fault if their wings are cut”.

The Government has clarified that this idea is “absolutely personal of Brunetta, and it does not have anything to do with this Government’s plans”.

Knowing what this Government’s plans are, the bamboccioni can keeping sleeping (un)happily under the blanket of their parents’ bed for a long time yet.

More on mammoni here.


Written by TheItalianist

25/01/2010 at 13:06

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