­Ciao, ciao, bambino Premium

05 June 2014 | by Hannah Roberts in Rome

Having a soft spot for children is as undeniably Italian as eating a gelato while riding a Vespa. But the days of large families are long gone, and with a new record low birth rate announced last week the country is facing a long-term crisis of population decline IN THE LAND where children are reared at the tables of restaurants, their chubby cheeks relentlessly pinched, there are literally hundreds of terms of endearment for them, including “potato chip”, “meatball” and “baby sparrow”. But despite their well-known affection for children, today’s Italians are having fewer and fewer of them. Indeed, government figures released last month revealed a new record low of 515,000 births in 2013, 12,000 less than the previous lowest total in 1995. This l

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