A poll by research institute Eures has shown that the Italian divorce rate is soaring and that mothers-in-law are bearing the brunt of the blame. It has been suggested that three out of ten Italian marriages fail because of the unusually close relationship between Italian men and their mothers. These “mammoni”, as they are known, cling to their mothers’ apron strings even after they are married, and their mothers see new daughters-in-law as rivals. A 45 per cent rise in the divorce rate in Italy between 2000 and 2002 is being taken to indicate that Italian wives are no longer happy playing second fiddle in their own homes.