Big babies or bamboccioni

In Italy you can come accross the most fantastic words. How about for instance bamboccioni. This word is very much in the news these days after a court ordered a father to help keep paying for the living expenses of his 32 year old daughter who is still studying and living with her mother. In the end as far as I understood it is all about a divorce case and this came about because the man had stopped making the payments without seeking a new settlement. However this case has sparked a discussion about children still living at home with their parents.

According to La Stampa almost 60% per cent of men and women between the ages of 18 and 34 are still living at home. A quarter of young Italian adults still lived with their parents because they were students. Half said they did so because of economic reasons.

The Minister for Public Administration, Renato Brunetta, incensed by this court case has now proposed a law to force grown-up children to leave their parents’ homes. Latest I heard was that he proposed a €500 incentive to get them to move on. Funny detail is that Brunetta admits that his mum was still making his bed when he finally left home at 30. I’m not sure whether this scheme will take off. In Italy a large part of the wellfare is entrusted to family members. This goes as far the family providing food for people who are in hospital.

The reason a lot of young people are stil living at home is because the grants provided by the Italian government are very low and most jobs pay extremely bad while the cost of living is quite high. The same goes for the state pensions. All this together makes clear why in Italy you can often find grandpa and grandma living in the same house as their granchildren.

The word bamboccione has been used before by Padoa Schioppa when he was minister of Finance in the Prodi government. Bamboccio is used as a term of endearment for a child but it can also mean puppet and simpleton. The -ne ending makes it a big version of a bamboccio. Hence the bamboccioni (plural version of bamboccione).

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