An exasperated Italian couple has resorted to legal help to kick their 41-year-old son out of the house, in the latest case to highlight the phenomenon of Italy's stay-at-home "bamboccioni" or mummy's boys. The elderly couple's patience with their grown-up offspring has finally run out after what they say is years of cooking him meals and washing and ironing his clothes. They say the man has a perfectly good job and a steady income but has resisted all attempts to persuade him to fly the nest.
The couple, who have not been named, have taken their case to the legal department of an association for the defence of consumers' rights in Mestre, near Venice. Lawyers have given the middle-aged man, also unnamed, 10 days to find himself a flat, or have the case referred to court, with the prospect of more forceful action being taken to evict him. "We can no longer go on like this," the father said, according to Andrea Campi, a lawyer from the consumers association.
"My wife has developed stress-related problems and she's been in hospital recently. He has a good job but he continues to live at home and wants his clothes washed and ironed and his meals cooked for him. He never wants to leave." The couple took their case to the association after reading that it had experience in dealing with dozens of similar cases. Young Italians are renowned for their reluctance to leave home, with a study released last year showing that 48% of offspring between the ages of 18 and 39 still live under their parents' roofs.
Young male Italians known as "mammone", or mummy's boys, are particularly attached to their mother's apron strings. After the report was released, a cabinet minister came up with a drastic solution to the problem, proposing legislation which would make it compulsory for teenagers to leave home once they reached adulthood. Renato Brunetta, the minister in charge of streamlining the country's bureaucracy, admitted that in his youth he too was a "bamboccioni", which translates as "big baby", and that his mother made his bed for him until he was 30.