Focus on Family: Italy


Marika from Padova shares about the life of families in Italy.


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A group of families of Genova, Padova and Airuno - all having OLA Communities present in these locaitons. They are accompanied by Sr Guiliana Bolzan, OLA [front row, left] and Fr Giampiero, SMA [back row, 5th from right].

I am from the city of Padua in northern Italy. To the east lies the city of Venice and to our west is Lake Garda, both are very popular tourist destinations.

I work as a teacher and my husband [Maurizio] is a doctor. We have two daughters.

The word for ‘family’ in Italian is ‘famiglia’. To me it signifies people who live together, who try to love each other, share and give support to other members.In Italy, family would be defined as parents and children, but the relationship with uncles, aunts and the grandparents is very strong - especially in the south of Italy.

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Grandparents help a lot in managing their grandchildren.

Some of the principle family challenges in Italy today include the lack of time to devote to the family, because of too much time spent at work. There is also a risk of losing the rich family network of the past.

The quality of life is better in rural areas. In the countryside life is quieter, even if there are fewer cultural opportunities. In Italy, the parents work both. The cost of living is higher in the north of Italy.

Family life has changed a lot since I was a child? We have so many cultural opportunities nowadays. The life of the women is improved. On the other hand, we have lost some educational values and the community spirit is not what it used to be. Technology has made life easier and faster but it makes children's education and family closeness more difficult.

Eating together is an important part of family life here. It is a ritual that at least once a day we eat together. Meeting at the table to share together is one of the most important aspects of Italian family life. Prayer is important in believing families. Usually the family loves to spend the holidays together too.


A group of families from Airuno present at the OLA community in the town. Front row (from left): Marco with his sons Pietro and Paolo, Elena, Paolo and his wife Lucia. Back row (from left): SMA Frs. Fabrizio and Renzo, Ombretta, Sr. Guiliana Bolzan, Gabriele and his wife Alessandra.

The most important family day of the year is Christmas Day. All families spend this day with family members, if they have them. Easter is the next most important gathering of the family. Sunday in general is an opportunity to meet with relatives.

Many migrant families have arrived in Italy over the years.  The families who arrived a long time ago have integrated well. Those who have arrived in recent years via Mediterranean Sea have faced more difficulties given the large numbers and our system is struggling to meet their needs.


 - Marika