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The Italian family unit

The family is still central to the Italian way of life and this section describes why. It gives some insight into the modern family unit and debunks the myths portrayed in the popular media, particularly television.

While Italian city families suffer the same pressures as those living throughout the world, country families have largely managed to maintain their values. Relations tend to live near each other; many Italians do not leave the region in which they were born. Children, often forced to move to cities, will usually try and visit their parents whenever possible (resulting in traffic movements before and after most weekends).

Families still eat together since the midday meal is still a strong tradition. Where families work within a reasonable distance of their work (which also explains why they try to avoid looking for distance work), they return home for la pranza, the main meal of the day. Wine is usually taken with this meal, often locally sourced. Following the meal a snooze might be taken, the infamous siesta. Work usually begins again at 1530 or even 1600 and finishes at 1830 or thereabouts. The evening meal begins anytime between 2000-2130 or families might visit a local restaurant.

Italy is a patriarchial society although the mother wields some power. Crucial family decisions are taken by the father while more mundane domestic matters are dealt with by the mother. One of the most important duties of the father is to choose the wine for dinner, a task taken with extreme expertise and seriousness!

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