In Italy a very low percentage of people aged over 75 live in retirement homes. This is probably due to a high sense of family solidarity, which makes elderly people more likely to live with other relatives or at least very close to them. This balance is however difficult to maintain: given low fertility levels older people will be able to count on increasingly fewer children and siblings. In this article we attempt to explore the determinants that encourage or discourage senior citizens' entrance in an institution. We take advantage of a recent survey involving people aged at least 70 in the city of Treviso. The survey provides much information on the respondents' living arrangements and family networks. Results show that very few people enter an institution, and the presence of children, a spouse, and even siblings further discourages such a solution. It is not clear, however, for how long this scarce use of retirement homes will continue to counter the progressive erosion of family networks.