A family in Italy is a source of stability and strength in an unpredictable world. The government and borders were always changing in Italy. Now with more stable governments and a more wealthy economy, the “Italian family” is undergoing a transformation.
One big change is the family’s size. Large families were ideal especially with a lot of boys or males. Today the birth rate has dropped to 1.2 births. This means the population is not growing and the elders are becoming the larger proportion of the population. Even one regional government has offered financial help and funding to encourage families to have more children.
The Italian family is important. Grandparents, aunt’s uncles and cousins are often invited to share family celebrations and Sunday dinners. The family members do not usually live near each other. When children grow up, they live in the house until they marry. Sometimes the children would move in to help their parents. The father is always the head of the family.
Children have a special place in the Italian society. Italians make an effort to include children in social events. Children go with their parents to restaurants. They get to stay up late and play at the piazza while the parents and grand parents enjoy a drink at a nearby café.
Meal time is family time in Italy. Family members expect to eat together around the table. After dinner the family may go out for a “passeggiata”, an evening stroll. An evening stroll is time for the family members to relax and chat with neighbors and friends to see and be seen. This is why everyone dresses to look their best.