There is a stereotype about Italian men. They live at home until well into their 40's because there is no reason to move out. Mamma is taking care of their every need. If they do happen to get married, they tend to live very close to Mamma and she is still very active in his life.
Well, its not all a stereotype. Here in Venice, I can see that trend in my generation. The younger generation is not hanging around Venice because of the lack of opportunity. But I have met plenty of single men in my age group who still have tight aprons strings attached. And I have also met several married men who havent broken the umbilical cord yet either.
In the US, this is definitely a stigma (male or female)....there is something wrong with a person who is that close to his mother. But in Venice (and vis a vis Italy), the bond between a mother and her son is STRONG. Its not a thing to look down upon and the son is not viewed 'odd' in any way because he stays. However, the world is getting smaller and questions are starting to be raised about this tradition. Thats why I was amused at the following newspaper article I saw on my expats website this week. Its a short article...take the time. I also saw it being discussed on Fox News this morning!