Dating Italian Men: A Locals Guide to Dating in Italy in 2021

Dating Italian men is certainly an appealing concept. Italians are generally known for being warm, welcoming, passionate people.

Better yet, people of Mediterranean heritage are arguably among the most attractive in the world. Dating Italian men makes a prominent feature on many female travellers to-do lists when travelling to Italy.

Dating in Italy seems just as appealing as a trip to the Colosseum, or uncovering where to eat the best pizza in Naples. A British or American guy may invite you over to Netflix and chill.

But an Italian man will offer to teach you to cook carbonara while you drink exquisite local wine. Or maybe he will invite you on a late-night picnic by the sea. As far as romance and charm factors go, Italian men top the leaderboards.

Dating Italian Men

Dating Italian men can be a different experience depending on whether you are dating an Italian American man in the west, or you are dating an Italian in his home country. Culture and tradition is one thing that has an influence on someones outlook and dating attitudes. But so too does the country that they have been bought up in.

It is important to remember that it is not possible to generalise an entire demographic of people. Regardless of whether they are Italian, Greek, British, Turkish, etc. Everyone is different.

Things to Know About Dating in Italy

You should be open minded when dating Italian men, as with dating men from anywhere. A persons upbringing, personal values, and education plays a huge role in their views of relationships.

That being said, there are some common cultural traits. These are discussed here.

Who am I to speak about dating Italian men? I am Anglo-Italian and spent several years living and teaching English in Italy before moving to Greece.

Italian men are aware of their appeal

It is worth noting that many Italian men, particularly those still in their motherland, are aware that many foreign women find them charming. They take great pride in their Casanova reputation and believe that women find them utterly irresistible.

Sadly, some men do have less than respectable views about western women. A fair few of them have had experiences with western girls. They meet them while the girls are vacationing in Italy and have a summer romance whereby the girls are enthralled by their charm and exotic appearance.

So, many may believe that western girls will jump into bed with them immediately. That is not to say that casual dating is bad.

Not at all. You do you. Just be mindful of how genuine the charm actually is when your new Mediterranean beau tells you how captivated he is by you.

Italian men are family orientated

Italians are very family orientated and close, even with non-immediate members of their extended family. The nice thing about dating Italian men is that they are generally very thoughtful and inclusive.

Italians will typically go to great efforts to try and make you feel welcome by introducing you to their friends and family. This is the rule, not the exception.

Views on intercultural dating are worth noting too. Most Italians are open to dating outside of their culture. This is very different to say, neighbouring Greece, where doing so is something of a taboo.

Sure, there may be the occasional older relative that is less than thrilled about a “foreign” influence, but it is not typical. The same could be said about people from anywhere. Italian families are usually happy if their son brings home “una bella ragazza” regardless of where she is from.

How to meet Italian men

It is relatively easy to meet and date Italian men in Italy. Firstly, Italians are often more forward than their western counterparts.

If you spend any amount of time in Italy, you will probably meet a few friendly locals with very little effort. More than likely, you will be approached once or twice.

Tinder exists in Italy. However it is not very widely used.

This is mostly seen as a hook-up app, and most of the men using it are looking for fun with tourists, not long term relationships. That may or may not be what you are looking for.

The best way of dating Italian men, if you are looking for something with substance, is to try and meet people the old-fashioned way.

Plenty of events are hosted on sites like Meetup and Couchsurfing. Head to a social event or a language exchange and see who you may meet.

Io, Mammeta e tu

Italian men are known for their strong bonds with their mothers. It doesn’t matter if Giuseppe is 40 years of age, his Mum is still likely to be popping round to his place every couple of days with trays full of home-baked pies and leftover food.

Besides, she needs to come to his place regularly so that she can do his laundry! Italian men are still treated like little darling children by their mothers up until they marry.

The strong bond that Italian men have with their mothers can be offputting for some. This is very different from western culture whereby men are typically more independent.

Italian men who have lived overseas or grown up outside of Italy may not be so dependent on their mothers. It is worth understanding what someone’s views on gender roles are before you seriously get involved with them.

Does your love interest expect that women should do all of the cooking and domestic tasks around the house? Or do they think everything should be equal in a romantic partnership?

Location, Location, Location!

You may notice a difference in how often you get approached, and in men’s attitudes and personalities, depending on whereabouts in Italy they are from. The culture between Northern Italy and Southern Italy is very different.

The north of Italy is more comparable to Northern and Western Europe. Meanwhile, Southern Italy feels much more Mediterranean. You compare the culture here to that of Greece.

Italian men in the south are even less aprehensive about approaching women. Furthermore, they may find you even more interesting as this part of the country sees less tourists.

Are Italian men womanisers?

It is no secret that Italian men can be flirtatious. Indeed, the general stereotype of an Italian man is that of Casanova – a charming, attractive man with many lovers.

But this is a negative stereotype and generalisation. Values around faithfulness, women, etc varies from person to person.

Are all British men perfect partners that never cheat or disrespect their wives and partners? I don’t think so.

Many Italians are in committed relationships and cannot imagine doing something to hurt their partners. It is offensive to suggest that someone’s culture or ethnicity influences their morals.

A cultural exchange

Dating Italian men is an opportunity to learn far more about Italian culture, food, and life than you ever could on a two-week Italy itinerary. He can introduce you to new dishes, drinks, musicians, and movies.

You can teach him about your country too, and have fun learning about the differences in each others backgrounds and upbringings. If you are dating an Italian in Italy, they can also take you to hidden restaurants and bars that you would have otherwise never have found.

Hilarious Encounters with Italian Men

Dating Italian men: A Neapolitan ex, our friends and I in Naples
Dating Italian men: A Neapolitan ex, our friends and I in Naples

Italian men make great romantic partners. At the same time, some of their approaches to women are quite comical from the outside looking in.

A handful of funny stories about encounters with Italian men are detailed below.

Hey Pretty Lady… Oh, Wait…You Old

It’s summer 2018. I’m living in Sicily.

I’m sitting on platform one of Catania Centrale waiting for the morning train to depart for Syracuse. I am mid-way through wolfing down a chocolate croissant.

Being the clumsy, awkward, British buffoon that I am, I’m sporting a chocolate sauce mustache with croissant flakes in my hair. Croissant flakes are down my shirt, in my eyebrows. Croissant flakes are pretty much everywhere!

I peer around to make sure that no one is watching me devour this croissant like an ogre, and notice a Sicilian guy staring at me. Horrified that someone seems so transfixed by my croissant gobbling, I make a conscious effort to eat like less of a trollop as I continue.

The next thing I know, this guy has migrated to the spot right beside me and is asking for a cigarette lighter. I replied and told him sorry, but I don’t smoke.

Now that he has an “in” to talk to the girl with chocolate all around her mouth (but arguably questionable standards of women!), he tells me that I am beautiful. He then asks me “quanti anni ha?” (“how old are you?”).

Our conversation follows like this:

Him: Quanti anni ha? (How old are you?)

Me:  Io ventotto anni  (I am 28!)

Him: *Loud dramatic gasp like when the murderer is revealed at the end of Scooby Doo”

Him: *In English* You said that correctly in Italian, yes? You are 28?

Me: Yes exactly

Him: Oh. My. God. Oh my god!

Me: Well I don’t think 28 is really that old

Him: You just don’t look SO old. I am 22. You are too old for me.

Me: Oh well I wasn’t interested

Him: Bye madam!

At least I could go on to eat my croissant in peace. But that was honestly probably the most extreme reaction to being 28 that a person could ever encounter. The man could not get away fast enough!

But Wait… I Have Oil!

I was living in Naples and decided to treat myself to a few days in Lake Como. Early in the morning, I wandered around the lake to take some photographs and explore Como town before the crowds.

When I sat down in a local place to have an early lunch, a Sicilian man plonked down beside me uninvited. I had my weekend tote bag with me and he asked if I was leaving so soon.

I told him that I had to get back to Naples, to which he offered that I could stay with him. He said that he would even give me a massage, since my bag looked so heavy to carry around!

I politely declined, and said I had to leave to get a train soon. “But wait!!!! I have oil!!!!” he exclaimed in response. He yelled it plenty loud enough for pretty much everyone in the place to hear him and turn around.       

The Complimentary Tour Guide   

I was living in Naples and had been for quite some time. I worked from home a lot and decided to go out for a walk.

Italians aren’t really big on the whole “sit down” coffee culture. It is more of a “chug down your espresso while standing and then be off” kind of place.

I would feel claustrophobic if I spent too much time in my apartment. So, ventured out of my lair to go and get some cakes from the local bakery.

As I was strolling along, some middle-aged balding Italian man latched on to me. He immediately recognised that I was foreign.

He asked the usual “What’s your name? Where are you from?” I just blanked him and stared forward as if he didn’t even exist.

This technique usually works in getting men to leave me alone. Act like Bruce Willis’ wife in the sixth sense. Unfortunately, this dude was persistent.

The older guy had clearly just come back from the supermarket. He was walking along swinging a bag filled with milk and groceries. A huge French baguette was protruding out the end of it.

As we walked along the seafront of Chiaia district, he started explaining the sights around me and their history. As I picked up my pace, he picked up his.

He was recalling dates and events so well that I thought that I was on a Rick Steves walking tour. After a few minutes, I abruptly turned around and asked him to leave me alone.

He looked shocked, adjusted his glasses, and yelled “WELL YOU ARE TOO SMALL ANYWAY”. Excellent.

Lost in Your Eyes

I’m shopping for groceries in Catania, Sicily. As I stand by the fruit and vegetables examining the quality of the tomatoes, some guy sees me and leans towards within an inch of my face. As I almost give myself whiplash moving my head backward, he says “wowwww”

I look at him puzzled, and he exclaims “Your eyes! They are so blue! Are they real?”  I respond and tell him that they are.

“They so blue like the sea!” he exclaims excitedly. “I want to swim in your eyes, to be lost in your eyes”

Umm okay. I back away slowly clutching my tomatoes. “So blue!” he is still muttering.

“Bellissima”

In Naples and Southern Italy especially, you are likely to hear breathy mutterings of “Bellissima” from the men that walk by. It can be a little unnerving and strange.

Are you supposed to continue on as if you never heard it? It seems that way, and that these men are purely showing their appreciation for female beauty.

There are rude and kind people everywhere. In general, travelling through Italy is something of a confidence boost.

It is not usually a creepy, uncomfortable approach from Italian men. Even if the locals do not approach you with a cheesy chat-up line, their comments of “bellissima!” or “Ciao Bella!”, are seldom ill-intentioned. Their glances and prolonged looks are more of a compliment and appreciation for beauty, rather than anything untoward.

Parting Words

Have you had any experience dating Italian men? Alternatively, have you had any comical encounters with the locals while travelling in Italy?

I would love to hear your perspective! If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below.

Safe travels! Andiamo! Melissa xo


Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

17 thoughts on “Dating Italian Men: A Locals Guide to Dating in Italy in 2021”

  1. Haha! I love these stories. I’m blonde and was told Italian men have a thing for blondes (since we aren’t common there I guess?) and I ended up meeting a leather craftsmen while I was in Assisi. He didn’t think I was too old, but I could definitely tell he thought he was charming 🙂

    Reply
  2. Well, this is just a bunch of pathetic short stories, because you actually did not date anyone. Even the title is wrong.

    The only argument I do agree with is the warmer approach of southern Italians, the true stallions of the peninsula.

    I am Canadian and every time I went visiting Italy , I really did date a man there, and I can tell that , well, that’s the Stallion experience you did not try.

    I ended up married to a Man from Puglia, gentle father during the day and…still stallion!

    Next time travel wiser and stick the titles to the content.

    Jen

    Reply
    • Actually “Jen” I had a Neapolitan boyfriend for a good while. I just chose for this post to be light-hearted and to focus on the humor aspect. In any case, I am sorry that your life is so empty that you feel the need to send nasty messages to strangers on the internet. Hope you find a more positive and productive way to spend your time! Hugs! xo

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  3. hahah lol. i loved this article so much. my favorite was number 1, both 3’s and 4. it is very disappointing that people have to be pinned down to certain traits just because of these stereotypical characteristics. Not everyone is like that, it really does just depend on the person. Thank you so much!

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  4. I was so happy to read this. I moved to Italy several months ago and thought it was “just me” when 90% of the Italian men I met would invite me to their house literally the first day we met. I’d say around 5% in the first few days and the their 5 lived with their parents and would often ask to come to MY house (not happening).
    Needless to say, I haven’t had any luck with the men here and I’ve decided to stick to foreigners. I know not all men here are the same but apparently I just attract the ones who are all the same lol.

    Reply
    • Hey Naa! Oh my gosh me too ha. I just generally attract a lot of odd people wherever I go I think, like some kind of beacon lol. There are some very nice Italian men though! I actually met the loveliest guy when I lived in Naples and we just hit it off straight away, but unfortunately I met him right before I was due to go travelling around the Middle East for several months – terrible timing! We kept in touch for a while and I intended to go back eventually but I ended up moving to Greece – what could have been! Whereabouts in Italy are you living? 🙂

      Reply
  5. I met an Italian guy and we dated. However, he forced me to slept with him on our third date. It was uncomfortable but I like him so I just go with it. and then after the deed, I asked him when was he got tested for STD, for me it was like for safety. Am I wrong to do this. because it seems like he got angry at me. and he now treats me differently.
    What can I do to win him back?
    thank you.

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  6. Hi, its my first time here, but i enjoyed reading these. I just got curious because i just recently broke up with a Southern Italian guy from Naples a few days ago. Just want to ask though if its normal for a Southern Italian to be so jealous, and overly suspicious?? He prohibits me having male friends on FB just to cite an example.

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  7. Hallo!!i am now starting relationship with an Italian man, I am scared now. hhh i don’t want to go with the wrong person, i am younger than him and i am hoping to love each other forever. Thanks for sharing this story

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  8. I was married to an Italian (parents from Naples) who was born and raised in Canada. He was short (5’5″) and extremely insecure (Napoleon syndrome). Aggressive, controlling and stupid af. I couldn’t take it anymore and finally asked for divorce, at which point he made it his mission to bully me and physically threaten everyone in my life who supported me. He also made up ridiculous stories about me to anyone who would listen. Extremely narcissistic. He was a thief and compulsive liar. Never wanted me to leave the house because another man might notice me (oh and that would be MY fault of course… even at 8 months pregnant).

    I dated a few Italians before him and also one after and they all seemed to think they knew everything.

    They always seem to find me (I’m Eastern European) and there are some good qualities but I don’t think I could marry one again due to my horrific experience.

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  9. just leave us alone in our own culture and costumes if you don’t appreciate..that’s really simple ! instead to use your judgments and criticize the italian guys !! look around the guys in your country and more close to your culture ! ciao

    Reply

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