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Italian woman wins court case to evict her two sons, aged 40 and 42

The proportion of Italian adults still living with their parents has long been high but one mother was forced to take drastic action after her two sons – both in their 40s – refused to abandon the comforts of the family home.

The woman, 75, from the northern city of Pavia, had grown weary of having to maintain her sons, 40 and 42, and on several occasions tried to convince them to find a more autonomous living arrangement, especially as each had a job. “But neither of them wanted to know,” she said, according to a report in the local newspaper La Provincia Pavese.

The mother was also annoyed that her sons did not contribute to the household expenses or chores, the newspaper reported. So she took them to court, culminating with a Pavia judge, Simona Caterbi, sympathising with her plight and issuing an eviction order against the men.

In her ruling, Caterbi said that while the men still living at home was initially warranted due to the “obligation of the parent to provide maintenance”, it was no longer justifiable given the fact that they were over 40. The men have until 18 December to move out.

Almost 70% of people in Italy aged between 18 and 34 still live at home with their parents, according to 2022 data: 72.6% of men and 66% of women.

A 2019 study found that of the young adults living at home, 36.5% were students, 38.2% had a job and 23.7% were searching for one.

Although there has always been a culture in Italy of multiple generations living under one roof, the number of young adults staying longer in the family home has risen in recent years, mostly as a result of tough economic conditions and the lengthy amount of time it takes to find a stable job.

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However, many are dismissed as bamboccioni (big babies), a term first used by an Italian politician in 2007 to mock adults still living with their parents and which suggests that some do it for the convenience of free room and board.

While an eviction order is rare, there have been cases in Italy of parents being taken to court by their adult children who still expect financial support. In one case, in 2020, Italy’s supreme court rejected the appeal of a 35-year-old part-time musician, who argued that his €20,000 (£17,400) income wasn’t enough to live off and he needed money from his parents. His case was rejected, with the court ruling that young adults do not have an automatic right to parental financial support.