Italian woman given legal right to kick out ‘big baby’ adult sons


A 75-year-old Italian woman has the right to boot out her “big baby” adult sons whom she accused of sponging off her for too long, a court has ruled.

The mother had been trying for years to evict her sons, aged 40 and 42, saying that they both have jobs and should be able to stand on their own feet.

The woman, who is separated from her husband, complained that they did not pay their share of household bills and refused to help out with housework.

She took the case to court in the city of Pavia in northern Italy and a judge has now ruled that she has every right to evict her sons.

Simona Caterbi, the judge, has given the brothers until Dec 18 to leave the parental home.

In her judgment, she said that parents had a responsibility to care for their children but only until they reached adulthood.

While the brothers’ refusal to leave the family home might have been understandable when they were younger, it was no longer justifiable “considering that both men are now over the age of 40”, the judge said in her ruling.

“Beyond a certain age, children can no longer insist that parents are obliged to maintain them.”

Adult children do not have “an unconditional right” to stay at home against the wishes of their parents, the judge said.

Italy has a particularly high rate of adults, many in their 30s and 40s, who still live with their parents.

It is partly because of the tight-knit nature of Italian families but also very often linked to the difficulty of finding a full-time job that pays decently.

These stay-at-home adults are often derided as “bamboccioni”, which literally translates as “big babies”.

The phenomenon is particularly pronounced in the south, where unemployment rates are high.

More than 40 per cent of people in their early 30s still live with their parents in southern regions, according to ISTAT, Italy’s national statistics agency.

“Bamboccioni start trembling – mothers have woken up” was the headline on Friday in one Italian newspaper after the verdict.

“It’s going to be a sad Christmas for the two eternal bambini of Pavia, who have been told to pack their bags,” said Il Giornale Popolare, adding that the brothers had clearly been reluctant “to cut the umbilical cord”.

Court rulings do not always favour parents in “bamboccioni” cases.

In 2016, a court in Modena in northern Italy ordered a middle-aged father to keep financially supporting his 28-year-old son.

The tribunal ruled that the father, who was divorced and made a modest living through writing, was obliged to pay for his offspring’s education.

The son had completed a degree in literature, taking several years longer than expected to finish the course, and had enrolled on a post-graduate course in experimental cinema.

The father argued that his son should get a part-time job and pay his own way but the court ruled that the cinema course was in keeping with the son’s “personal aspirations” and had to be financed by his father.

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