The Italian Almanac

housewife at work

Italian News - April 27

Don’t take Marcia Cross or Nicole Kidman as examples. The impeccable housewives of the small and big screen do not exist. Now, a study by Procter & Gamble has revealed that American women devote just four hours a week to household chores while Italians spend twenty-one on housework. This makes Italian women the undisputed international champions after Eurostat put them at the top of the European table a month ago. It also means they are prime targets for eager household cleaning product manufacturers.

There is just one problem: Italian housewives are hard to please. They want a different product for every job. Italians shun multipurpose cleaners, demanding one spray for windows and another for mirrors. Cleaning the floor is an art form. Italy’s homemakers have no time for over-sophisticated domestic appliances that wash, dry and spin all in one. Dishwashers also fail to convince and only three Italians in ten have one.

“Yes, that’s plausible. But it’s not so much a mania as a cultural issue”, observes Federica Rossi Gasparrini, chair of the Federcasalinghe housewives’ association. She continues,“No woman will forgo a clean house, even if she works. It’s part of love for the family”. And it’s a very demanding love. “All this attention to perfection in the home is part of the typically Italian lifestyle, which is exposed to the influence of fashion and good food”, notes advertising agent Lorenzo Marini.“In Italy, aesthetics overlays ethics. Beautiful is good”.

These are the figures: 80% of Italian women iron everything, including socks and handkerchiefs, 31% have a dishwasher, 2% use scrubbing brushes and 1% have a clothes dryer. In the end, Italians devote twenty-one hours a week to household chores, of which five are spent ironing. Cooking is not included in the total.