Family Life in Italian Culture


#1

From films I’ve watched and from personal experience of being a guest in Italian homes (2 student exchanges) it seems to me that Italian family life focusses on the larger extended family. This is in contrast to the nuclear family norm of most western cultures. Italians have many frequent large family gatherings and children grow up with a knowledge of their more distant relatives.

Is this a stereotype or are my feelings accurate?


#2

As an Italian American, I can tell you that I grew up in an atmosphere similar to what you’ve described. Family gatherings were large with many of my extended family members in attendance and meals took all afternoon to finish. Everything was centered around the kitchen and the table. I can remember many of my relatives crowding into my grandmother’s small kitchen and spilling out onto the porch and into the hallway just because the kitchen was where everyone wanted to be. There were always a lot of great aunts and great uncles involved, along with anyone else you could imagine and everything was loud and animated. I miss those days!


#3

I think that families are very important for the Itaians. They have a special affection for the family, that includes not only the closest relatives like spouses and chidren, but also uncles, aunts, cousins ​​and other distant relatives.
In Italy, kinship ties are very strong, the most famous national feature is the huge number of firms that consist exclusively of members of the same family.


#4

They say that Italian family life can be characterized by loyalty and closeness. Italians tend to remain as a close unit through several generations. Italian families tend to be smaller now, they continue to spend a lot of time together and their members typically try to gather to eat together at least one meal each day where they share their days’ events.


#5

That sounds really great. Italians just show how important the closeness for each and everyone member in the family, to their clan to be exact. I guess family life in Italian culture is something that I want to admire, also it is my ideal family gatherings in the future when I already making my own family line.


#6

Yes, I think extended family ties are more important in the Mediterranean cultures. I think it is a nice thing because people feel supported by the family at large and not just parents…siblings etc. I see no problem with that whatseover…It is healthy.


#7

Italy is one of those countries who has a very deep value and respect when it comes to family. From the immediate to the extended (I guess even to distant relatives), their closeness and loyalty remains all through out their generations. Because of the importance they give to family life, family life becomes the foundation of Italian culture.


#8

That is a very good thing to know. I admire people who really value family relationships because I believe that everything starts within your family so if you have a good relationship with your family then you’ll get a happy life.


#9

The family (la famiglia) is the most important aspect of an Italian’s life. It provides emotional and economic support to the individual and often forms the basis of their social circles. Italian families on average have become smaller in size over the past few decades as the fertility rate has declined. The fast economic pace in the 21st century has also changed family dynamics; one parent is often unavailable during the week due to commuting long distances for work. There may also be less contact time with the extended family. Nevertheless, relationships remain extremely close.

Italian parents generally have a lot of authority over their children throughout their lives. Most Italians seek autonomy and independence, but due to the economic climate, many stay at home for years into their adulthood. Indeed, Italians leave their parents’ home at one of the highest ages in Europe. Even when children move away, family ties are still very strong.


#10

I’m not Italian myself, but I’ve dated my fair share of Italian-American women (literally every girl I dated had some degree of Italian heritage) so having spent about half my life in Italian households, I’m familiar with the family values.

It’s pretty much as you described it. Not one household consisted of just the parents and the kids. Most of the time the grandparents were included, the aunt and uncle probably lived downstairs, and visits from extended family were pretty much a daily occurrence. Italian households are definitely far more active and lively compared to the standard American household.

Sometimes a bit too lively. We all know how passionate Italian people are, so boy did the arguing reach some crazy volumes sometimes. But it’s all love in the end.