The Italian Almanac

blind date

Italian News - May 29

According to a report published this week by the National Institute of Statistics, Italian society continues to evolve in new and startling ways. Even the nuclear family is too much of a struggle for many: millions now decline to breed altogether, preferring to find permanent asylum in their family home, under the protection of their parents. Those who do stray beyond, both men and women, often remain single.

The family remains the lodestone of Italian society, even in its modern, shrunken form; a life without the joys and torments of children and grandchildren remains for many Italians no life at all. That's why singles in Italian society seem more painfully, more dolorously single than elsewhere. Milan, a city grimly dedicated to the working week, is the place to spot them en masse, strap-hanging on the Metro, eating small, balanced suppers in self-service restaurants while reading a book.

According to the National Institute of Statistics, there are now more than three million single people in Italy, excluding widows. Huge numbers of singles continue to live with their parents: the percentage of Italians aged 25 to 34 still living at home has jumped from 26 per cent 10 years ago to nearly 35 per cent in 2003, overtaking the number in the same age group who live as married or cohabiting couples. And hundreds of thousands of other singles live alone, learning to cope with their echoing fridge.

Adults only, please.