Italy Flag Italy

Country Overview

Business Culture

Clothing Size Guides


Cost of Living

Culture and Society


Driving and Autos

Economy and Trade


Educational Resources


Export Process

Food Culture and Drink



Health and Medical


Holidays and Festivals

Import Process


Kids' Stuff


Life Stages


Media Outlets

Money and Banking



National Symbols

Points of Interest

Quality of Life

Real Estate


Security Briefing

Social Indicators

Travel Essentials

Life Stages: Coming of Age

Religious Ceremonies

The religious sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation demonstrate the ability to make important personal choices and can serve as rites of passage marking the transition from childhood to adolescence. Catholic children take their First Communion when they are eight to 10 years of age and are considered able to "reason" for themselves. This involves receiving the Eucharist at Mass along with the rest of the congregation. Children usually attend catechism classes after school for years before they formally go through the Confirmation ceremony at about age 14 or 15. The rite involves reciting a list of core Christian tenets along with pledges to be a righteous person and a faithful member of the church. After a child’s Confirmation, he or she often receives gifts and participates in a family celebration.

Children become legally responsible for their actions and decisions at the age of 18. Upon reaching this age, they are considered adults who are officially free from parental control. Socially, however, adulthood and true freedom from dependency takes place around the age of 25 or so, when most young adults have found employment and are earning their own keep. However, many Italian parents are happy to continue to cover their children’s expenses if they decide to live at home for a longer period.

Cultural Standards

Italian youth usually continue with their studies after the age of 18. After completion of their higher education in their mid-twenties, they are expected to work and earn an income, helping to supplement the family’s earnings if possible.

Young people who belong to big families have more limitations and are tied to family rules. There is also a big difference in the treatment meted out to daughters and sons. Parents impose greater limitations on daughters than sons, particularly in conservative Southern Italy.

The major problems facing Italian youth today are drugs and alcohol. Drinking alcohol in moderation is considered socially acceptable, and most Italians begin drinking early in their lives. Hard drugs like cocaine and heroin are increasingly popular, and a problem that was formerly restricted to Italy’s wealthy upper classes and criminal under-classes has now begun to afflict middle-income groups as well. Statistics indicate that drug use is growing rapidly.