Socialising in Italy inevitably revolves around food, and dating is no different. Even a casual first date is the perfect excuse to grab pizza and fritti at a local pizzeria or get to know each other over an aperitivo. Prepare to put on a few pounds.
Italians are notoriously bad timekeepers so if you spend ages doing your hair or picking spinach out of your teeth before a big date, it’s no big deal – they’re not going to be ready on time either.
Compared to their British counterparts who get hitched at an average age of 27.9, Italians don’t marry until their 30s. The average age for a first wedding in Italy is 34 for men and 31 for women. So if you like to take things slow, Italians are on the same wavelength.
It’s not just a cliché that Italians are good in bed – the statistics prove it. One poll that called English lovers ‘too lazy’ put Italians in the top three nationalities for lovemaking. Some scientists even say a rampant sex life is helping Italians live longer.
Regularly topping the polls as the world’s sexiest, the Italian accent conjures up fantasies of sultry summer flings and passionate liaisons played out against the backdrop of the bel paese. CNN went as far as calling the lingo ‘sex as a second language’ – even talking about the weather Italians sound hot.
From mastering a million verb tenses and deciphering complicated conjugations, learning Italian is not easy. Having a native speaker at your disposal can only help you master the perfect pronunciation and pick up useful vocabulary.
Even if your Italian beau doesn’t live in Italy, that’s no excuse not to discover their homeland. The country was only unified in 1871 so regional identities remain strong, contrasting greatly from north to south. In short, there’s a lot to discover.
Once things get serious, you’ll no doubt be invited to dine with the family. They might tell you it’s a just simple Sunday lunch, but there’ll still be mountains of prosciutto, three different kinds of pasta, grilled veggies and a meat or fish course – all followed by dessert, of course. It’s just mamma’s way of showing she cares.
Speaking of Italian mothers, they’re usually seen as overbearing and interfering, raising clingy and ill-equipped-for-life mammoni, or mummy’s boys. If the stereotype happens to be true and you don’t want to look after a man, great – mamma will take care of that! More likely though, is that her years of experience mean she’ll be your go-to person when you need a heart-to-heart or the type of life-clarifying advice you can only get from a mother – particularly if yours is miles away in another country.
Italians are well known for their sultry good looks, but what’s on the inside counts too. Making a good impression, known as la bella figura, dictates every aspect of how Italians act. Italians will not only dress to impress, they’ll also be kind, considerate and display the upmost charm in order to avoid making a figuraccia – a bad impression.
Starting a new life in another country means a whole load of organisation and life admin to wade through. The language barrier can make even simple tasks like opening a bank account seem daunting, but throw in Italian bureaucracy and you’ll be pining for your homeland in no time. Having someone with experience of cutting through red tape makes registering for residenza at the comune that much easier.
If your in-laws approve, they’ll want to help you and hubby out whenever they can. Many Italians, particularly older generations, have second homes at the beach or in the mountains for the whole family to enjoy. If you’re really lucky, there might even be a vacant apartment in need of some rent-free tenants.
If all goes well, you might feel like getting hitched. Italian weddings are multi-course extravaganzas serving only the best Italian dishes and with fine wines flowing freely. As well as a wedding cake, there’s often an entire buffet of desserts to indulge in. Wash it down with a grappa or limoncello and dance the night away.
And if it doesn’t go quite so well, have no fear, there’s plenty more fish in the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, young Italians are practically Tinder professionals – with Rome in particular making it into the top 10 most active European locations for Tinder.