Work apart we are a beautiful family of four: Davide (me) 39, Giovanna 40, Thiago 6 and Mia 3. We live in a little country (Rolo) in the North of Italy (45 Minutes North of Bologna and 45 minutes south of Verona). Both Giovanna and me work hard (fortunately Giovanna has Saturday and Sunday free); She is a custom specialist and I have a little company (service in Agriculture sector).
What kind of toys do your kids like to play with?
Our kids have too many toys (They are pampered from grandparents, uncles and cousins) so specially for xmas they receive from “Santa Klaus” a lot of Toys from people who love them (usually somethings concerned cartoons who watch in TV). Fortunately Thiago loves play with Board games, football, video games and paints while Mia loves Dance, make-up and paint too.
What are the local snacks for kids in Italy?
In Italy, we have a lot of things that kids could eat and there are different tidbits region by region (sometimes province by province). During Xmas we have “capelletti” a sort of tortellino that kids love with broth. Mia loves “erbazzone” a sort of salad cakes typically from our province (Reggio Emilia) made with spinach (she hates spinach :o) and parmigiano reggiano cheese. Thiago loves Pizza but Mia Hates it.
Both kids love apples and little oranges (that we call Clementine).
How do the kids spend their free time?
Thiago goes to school only in the morning (1st class of the primary school) from Monday to Friday and in the afternoon he goes to After school private service provided by local church (we don’t believe in religion, but we don’t have the proof that God doesn’t exist, so we believe in good people and in our church there are very good people). Mia goes to kindergarten but at 3.30 p.m. school finishes and grandmother picks her up, and she stays with her until Giovanna returns from work (usually 7 p.m.). Mia goes to dance classes once a week and Thiago goes to play football in local team twice a week.
In family spare time we love travel (we are travel addicted) and play all together. In winter time we love watch films or cartoons.
What are the roles of parents in your country? What duties do belong to mother and to father?
Imagine there are not specific duties only for mother or only for father; a lot of things depend on work people do though a lot of mothers choose part-time or temporary interruption of work (when it is possible) to grow up kids. In Italy, it is very difficult reconcile 40 hours work week for both parents without help from grandparents; it is more simple if parents live in big city and earn a very good salary in order to pay for babysitter or private structure that holds kids until late afternoon.
Can you explain how maternity leave works in Italy? How long is it? Can you get back to work after it without any obstacles?
In Italy, we have 5 months (2 before and 3 after born or 1-4) of compulsory maternity leave paid 80%. Italy isn’t a kid friendly country so mothers that return to work after 3 or 4 months are a sort of super-heros! The maternity is already view for small company like a problem, Fortunately not for big company though is not simple find a indefinite time job if u are married women 30-35 years old without kids.
Does the government help families with kids?
In our country nurseries are very expensive: from 350 to 500 euros per month and usually for this amount finish at 3.30 or 4 p.m. if you need your kid to stay there longer, an extra fee is required (in our little town, nursery costs 400 euros until 3.30 p.m and there no possibility to adds extra time).
Kindergartens (from 3 years old to 5) are less expensive because usually there is public structure (we pay a very low fee: 130 euro with meal) but on average it is around 200-300 euros per month. In big city costs could reach up to 500 euros if u need to have extra time.
Italy is very different from north (more rich) than south (poor) so I tell you about our situation; In the south situation is different, the government helps a little more there and fees are generally lower.
Is it safe to travel with a child in Italy? What to watch out for? Do you think your country is friendly for families with kids?
Italy is a safe country but if u visit big city like Rome or Naples (sometimes Milan) you need to pay attention at little thefts so wallet, phone and others valuable things on a front part of you and only diapers in the backpack pocket :o). Our country is family friendly but it is important to remember that there is a lot of historical places and sometimes in order to leave unchanged this historical sites some accesses could be difficult to reach with kids (like hiking St Pietro dome with kid on the shoulders :o)
Italian people usually are good people even if due to grow of populist parties have less confidence of foreigner people and when talk about Couchsurfing someone tells me that we are crazy to host unknown people.
Fortunately a lot of young people think that diversity is a value and not a problem and these things is a strong hope for the future!