Six 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 live at home with their mothers sometimes into their forties and fifties. This Italian lifestyle is alive and well today, maybe moreso in light of the worsening economic situation in Bella Italia. And so is its counterpart, mammismo. The two lifestyles appear to go hand in hand.
According to to The Telegraph, mammismo is an “Italian bond of love between a man and his mother that chokes romance, inhibits sex drive, and even has the power to slow the economy.” They report that Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the archbishop of Genoa, warned that the phenomenon is “one of the biggest risks to marriage in the country today.”
The Times Live corroborates this information, stating “the classic attachment between Italian men and their mothers – is one of the biggest risks to marriage today.” Going even further, “Leading matrimonial lawyer Gian Ettore Gassani said interfering mothers-in-law were responsible for 30% of all separations.”
Last year ITV News aired an ON Assignment episode titled “Italy’s mamma’s boys: The curse of the mammoni,” where they interviewed three Italian women who left their partners because of their mothers. One even described the situation as an addiction.
From my conversations with Italian men and women I’ve met on my travels to Italy, I understand that not all Italian men are so attached to their mamas. Many are in committed relationships, some married and some cohabitating.
From what I have discerned, moving away from the mother seems to be helpful so this mammismo does not become a problem for the couple. Traditionally the Italian mother however does always hold a place of honor and importance in the culture.
The latest figures from Eurostat show “sixty-seven percent of 18-34-year-old Italians” living with their parents. This figure is almost “20 points higher than the European average.” Due to the lack of jobs, there is not much of an alternative.
So the trend is controversial and I’d love to hear your opinions, so please leave a comment.
Grazie and Ciao.