By "60 Minutes" producer Shari Finkelstein
This week's piece in our summer series of "Correspondent Favorites" was born out of a vacation I spent in Italy years ago, where Italian friends of mine were teasing their older brother for living at home with his parents in his early 40s. I thought it was a little strange that this charming, smart, successful man was living at home, and I loved the word Italians had coined for men like him: "Mammoni." What I was shocked to learn, was that this older brother was no isolated case -- it was the norm in Italy.
Trying to decide who to include in our story we faced an unusual problem: almost every unmarried man we came across fit the bill. My colleague Sabina Castelfranco and I would be discussing the subject in a cab, and the driver would chime in that he too lived at home with his parents; the waiter; the man at the hotel; mammoni were everywhere!
What fascinated me in reporting the story was that the more time we spent with these Italian families, the stranger American assumptions seemed to me. Why do we feel it's so unnatural for a young man or woman to want to live with his or her parents? Would it be so terrible to actually want to spend time hanging out with your family?
When I produced this story, I did not yet have children. Now I do. And while I'm not going to be ironing anyone's underwear anytime soon, I sure wouldn't mind having my kids stay at home a little longer...
A few updates on our "mammoni" since the piece aired in 2001:
Giorgio Boemo is still single. He's 50 and lives in his own apartment, but still comes home almost every day to eat lunch made, of course, his Mama.
Massimo Malerba died from cancer in August 2005.
Andrea Leofreddi, the mammoni in our story with the British girlfriend, passed away earlier this year after undergoing minor heart surgery. As we reported in the last update of this piece, he and his British girlfriend Jude had broken up many years ago, and she had returned to England, married, and had a child.
Davide Lucchini is 41, turning 42 in August. He is still unmarried, lives in his own apartment, and visits his parents often.