Did you come to Rome hoping to meet an Italian stallion who would whisk you off your feet with candlelit dinners and whispers of sweet nothings in your ear?
Then lucky you – you’re in the right place. But a word of caution: you’ll have a lot of fun, but if you’re looking for love, you are far more likely to end up nursing a broken heart on the plane home.
While not all Italian men are womanisers, love cheats and liars, dating in Rome as a female foreigner can be quite the minefield.
Whether you’re looking for a holiday fling or something a bit more serious, the following guide will help you negotiate Rome’s tricky dating scene.
- Men here pay for everything.Times may have changed back home, but here in Rome it’s still expected for the man to foot the bill, at least most of the time or during the early days of dating.
- He will be late.Italians may love sporting expensive watches on their wrists, but they seem to rarely use them. Arriving 10 to 20 minutes late for a date is pretty much the norm here.
- Kissing… it’s common for female expats to share horror stories of Italian men trying to eat their face during the date – and having to wipe the dripping saliva from their chin afterwards. Not content to put their mouth into overdrive when it comes to compliments, Italians can often mistake passion with quasi-cannibalism. Ladies, you’ve been warned.
- Never accept behaviour that would result in a slap from an Italian woman. Italian men can see foreign women as freer and easier to negotiate into the sack. Don’t confuse charm with smarm.
- Italian/foreigner date hotspots… from the Trevi to Gianicolo, the men here can take their pick of swoon-worthy locations to impress the object of their desire. Just keep in mind when you’re gazing through the ‘Keyhole” or admiring the Roman skyline at Gianicolo Hill: he’s done it all before (and maybe even just last night). Challenge your new man to think of someplace unique if he wants to keep you interested.
- Compliments… you’ll hear all the superlatives in the dictionary while dating an Italian. While you might actually be the most beautiful, intelligent woman to walk the face of the planet and it takes just seconds for a mere male mortal to fall deeply in love with you, chances are he’s hamming it up a bit. Enjoy, but take it all with a pinch of salt.
- Exclusivity… bear in mind that many Italians are probably dating more than one woman at any given time. Just because you’ve been on a few dates, it doesn’t mean you’re his fidanzata.
The most important thing when dating in Rome is to remember to just have fun. This is a spectacular city where you could have so many adventures – so don’t let a Latin lothario spoil it by not treating you right. Play the field and just have fun. And if there’s a guy here who’s right for you, he probably won’t be the type to stop you in the street with some cheesy line.
(Disclaimer: This article is a tongue-in-cheek account based on the experiences of expats in Rome – we know not ALL men are così!)
By Catherine Evans