Giancarlo Murisciano,a 28-year-old from Gioia Tauro in Calabria, posted the photo with his grandmother, 87, on Facebook a few minutes before midnight on New Year's Eve.
Alongside it, he wrote: "This is also love...this hasn't been the best 31st December of my life, but it is also part of life. You used to hold me on your legs, and now I'm doing the same, without shame or fear, to remind everyone that life should always be lived."
As of Monday morning, the photo had attracted 463,041 'likes' and been shared 48,318 times on the social network.
Murisciano, who works at a gym in Messina, told Corriere that he grew up in the home of his grandparents and that now was the time to return the care.
His grandmother, Antonia, who rarely recognises her grandson, is cared for by her family at her home.
In his message, Murisciano said it was "easy to write words on Facebook" but that for 2015, he wished for people to "always be present" to not only "protect and comfort those close to them" but to also keep them "happy and smiling with us".