Most Italian families have a power-authority structure. Power is allocated hierarchically among the many members of the family. The most powerful family member is at the top of the hierarchical pyramid, while others who are less powerful are at the bottom. Children and other family members often respect this authority.
In addition to being powerful within the family, parents can also influence what happens in the community by becoming politicians or members of parliament. They may also work for an important company or organization. In fact, almost one in five Italians between the ages of 15 and 64 works as some sort of employee. Only 10 percent are self-employed.
Children need permission from their parents to go out into the world and look for work. If they do find a job, the employer then informs the parent(s) about what time they will be returning home. If a child does not return by that time, then it is presumed that they have stayed overnight with friends or acquaintances.
Employees have rights too. Employees can leave their jobs at any time and find new employment without giving notice. Companies must give them time off if they call in sick or if there is a death in the family. Employees are also free to organize themselves into unions to make demands of their employers. However, employees cannot strike. When an employee goes on strike, he or she is called a "blackleg" by his or her colleagues.
Furthermore, Italian culture has a significant level of power gap between different members of society and accepts inequalities in the level of power obtained by distinct societal members and groups. This is reflected in the name given to this aspect of the Italian personality: "la difesa dei diritti del più forte".
This means that Italians tend to give more weight to what someone has than to who they are. They like results and not processes. This often leads them to prefer those who are more capable or better qualified, regardless of their rank or position.
In conclusion, Italy has a high power distance factor because it is accepted that people at lower levels can't be expected to act like leaders.
Even though they may be giving orders, in reality they are only seeking to gain influence over others. If they feel threatened by another person, they will use their power to undermine them. This is particularly likely to happen between employees of one company where there is a lot of pressure to perform.
Italy also has low individual mobility because it is difficult for people at any level to advance themselves within the system.
Nuclear family patterns are most popular in Italy, and there is a growing demand for fewer children. The family continues to play a vital role in fostering social cohesion and a sense of belonging, although non-traditional family ideals are increasingly being welcomed. Rural Italians are more likely to be family-oriented. In large cities, such as Rome and Milan, it is common to see single people living on their own without any relatives nearby.
Italy has one of the highest rates of divorce in Europe at 50 per 1000 population. Marriage is considered by many to be the only valid way to separate from your spouse, but this is not necessarily the case. There are various forms of separation available including separation under civil law, where only financial matters will be resolved; separation under religious law which is almost always final; and domestic violence or stalking protection orders which can be obtained by anyone who believes they are in danger. A separation can also be declared by a judge if there are serious problems in a marriage or relationship such as abuse, addiction, or unemployment. Judges will usually make recommendations regarding child custody and visitation when issuing these orders.
In Italy, parents have an obligation to provide for their children's education until they reach 18 years old. This is done through a system of public schools which are free and require students to attend until they pass a test to enter higher education. Parents can opt out of this system by paying a fee that covers the cost of private school education.
In Italy, there are three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. The Council of Ministers has executive authority, which is headed over by the President of the Council, also known as the Prime Minister. Ministers are in charge of enforcing laws and making other political choices. The Chamber of Deputies is the most representative body of the legislature; it decides how to use its voting power. The Senate is a largely symbolic body that can block legislation and vote down the prime minister's nominees for many government positions.
The Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal for matters not resolved by the Council of Ministers. It can give judgment on questions of law arising from any matter before the courts.
In addition to these institutions, there are several other bodies that play an important role in Italian politics. For example, there is the European Commission, an independent agency that makes proposals on issues before the Parliament, and whose decisions cannot be overruled by national governments. There is also a system of regional governments, which have some powers but are not as powerful as their national counterparts. Each region is governed by a president who is elected by popular vote and a regional parliament made up of either directly elected members or representatives chosen by local councils. There are 20 regions in Italy.
Finally, there is the world-famous San Giorgio Maggiore, a beautiful church located on the edge of Venice's main square.