The Guardian, Wednesday 20 January 2010
More than 50% of Italians aged 18 to 34 still live at home with their parents. This state of &SHY;affairs has prompted one minister to call for a new law forcing "bamboccioni" mummies' boys and girls to leave the nest at 18. What does Maurizio Schiavi, a 36-year-old who lives with his parents in Rome, think?
If the minister knows how to pay for it, I'd welcome a law &SHY;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 &SHY;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 &SHY;salary for six months. After that, &SHY;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.
It's the same with university. There are no grants here, just scholarships for the neediest to cover accommodation costs, so most students live at home till they graduate.
Although I get on well with my parents, it's not easy &SHY;fitting into a family life I thought I'd left behind. I'm a good cook, but my parents are very &SHY;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.
My parents' attitude is mixed, though. When I was abroad, they were always worrying about my health and my work. And having me around makes them feel safer: it's reassuring to have someone younger in the house. But, on the other hand, they're concerned at seeing me in financial difficulties.
Interview by John Hooper