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How Italy's Young People Celebrate SummerDiscover what they do when school's out and the heat is on
As an American, the last time I had a carefree summer vacation with nothing more to do than watch TV, read books (probably more likely magazines back then), go shopping, or sit on the beach was when I was 15. It was the last time I had no summer job or internship. Often, I am nostalgic for those days, which were filled with ice pops, dips in the pool, and movie nights with friends that often ended with us waxing philosophical under the stars on someone's terrace. And it makes me jealous of my Italian friends and family, who indulged in the lazy days of summer for far longer than I ever did.
Teenagedom and young adulthood are extended in the Boot. Those who attend university often take their sweet time to complete degree programs. Seriously, many of them are close to or already in their thirties when they graduate. Even those who go to work at about 18, when most finish high school, live at home with their parents until they marry. Typically, Italians marry later in life because it takes a long time (read: never) to cut the apron strings and earn any real money.
You've probably already heard about the mammoni, Italian men who never marry or have kids because mamma cooks, cleans, and wipes them well into their 50s. This entire culture makes it possible for summer to be a teenage fantasy, even for people in their late 20s and beyond.
Now, I've observed folks in southern Italy, namely on the island of Ischia and in the nearby city of Naples. Kids from 16 to about 40 (yes, you're still a kid at 40 on the island) spend the summer in much the same way, even if a handful of them technically have a job.
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