The ultimate A to Z guide on dating an Italian

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11:48 CEST+02:00
So you're thinking of dating an Italian? Here's our foolproof A to Z guide on navigating the Italian dating scene, which will hopefully lead you on the path to finding true love.


Photo: Ardo Beltz

Let's start at the beginning.

The informal Italian aperitivo is a great way to get to know your new love interest on a first date, without breaking the bank.

Be persistent

Men, take note. You need to conquer an Italian woman, so be prepared to put the hours in and dedicate yourself to some serious romance.

Conquer by cooking

Italians are frequently excellent cooks, so expect to be cooked for! The negative side of this is that, while you may also be a genius in the kitchen, your Italian partner might kick you out.

Dutch dates

The general convention in Italy is that the guy will pay for your date, so gentlemen should make sure they bring enough money to cover the bill in case she doesn't offer to chip in.


As in, 'don't bother being on time'.

Punctuality is obviously appreciated, but it's perfectly normal for Italians to turn up ten to 15 minutes late for a date. If it happens – keep your cool.


This one is a biggie.

Fidanzato literally means “betrothed”, so when your Italian boyfriend or girlfriend starts referring to you as their findanzato/a it's a sign that things are getting serious.

Be warned - the turning point is normally when you go to dinner at their parents' house.

Gender roles

Generally speaking, there is a more defined division of gender roles in Italy, which could cause problems for the first-time Italian dater.

Men might find it baffling that their Italian girlfriend demands he 'look after' her. Whereas some women might view their Italian boyfriend's desire to 'protect his woman' a little chauvinistic.

High maintenance

Let's just say that it's no coincidence that the word 'diva' is an Italian word. Men need to be prepared to give as good as they get!


Generally speaking, Italians are much more touchy-feely, which can cause a headache when it comes to reading the signs.

Just because your cute Italian friend hugs you and ruffles your hair, it doesn't necessarily mean there is a romantic interest from their part.

You might just be in the dreaded 'friend zone'.


The language of love may be universal, but humour certainly isn't.

English people take note: 'English humour' is a term Italians often use to describe a joke that just isn't funny.

Think carefully before starting a conversation with “three nuns walked into a bar...”


In spite of the fact that Italians love kids, they are having fewer children than ever before.

But now that the government has introduced a 'baby bonus' to those who reproduce it might not be long before you start to hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet.

Look good

If you're going on a date with anybody from any nationality you should always put a bit of effort into how you look.

Generally, most Italians are on point with style and will turn up for a date looking their best. Make sure you do the same.


Photo: Neil Moralee/Flickr

Women beware: Italian men are slightly notorious for being mummy's boys – or mammoni.

Obviously it is not true for all men, but generally in Italian culture, the maternal parent continues to look after her sons until they are well into their 30s, much to the fury of their exasperated partners.


'No' means 'no' in both English and Italian - men, take note.

Odd numbers

Gift giving is always tricky. But if you're buying flowers for your Italian girlfriend or boyfriend, they should be given in an odd number, for superstitious reasons. That said, a bunch of 12 is perfectly fine on your wedding day.

Play hard to get

As a general rule, Italian women are good at this, so don't expect this to be easy guys. Italian men are expecting it, so girls can have plenty of fun making them sweat.


Woah there. Slow down. This is dating Italian style. Linger over your dinner, have a philosophical chat. Whatever you do, take things slow.


The Italian word for boyfriend or girlfriend, but it is generally used in the early stages of a relationship before things get too serious.


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Italian men, listen up. Foreign women of all ages are going to dig your scooter and want to be taken for a spin on the back of it.

However, it should be noted that the novelty of this has worn off on all Italian women over the age of 18.


Probably not the best place to start.

Italians are known as outgoing and sociable people and there are plenty of opportunities to find Mr or Miss Right without going online.

Story continues below…

Ultra – passionate?

The Italians have a reputation for being some of the most passionate people on the planet. There might just be something to it.

One woman told The Local that Italians were "way more passionate than Nordic people". Crikey.


Italian men have a reputation for vanity so be careful not to insult their good looks! On the plus side, they will turn up for dates looking impeccable.


A bit of a double-edged sword. While it's great for breaking the ice, Whatsapp has been linked to the soaring rate of divorce in Italy right now.


As in, your partner's dreaded Ex.

Ex's will rear their ugly heads from time to time as they are wont to do. Sorry folks, in Italy, it's the same old story...


Photo: Liz West/Flickr

In Italy, yellow is the colour of jealousy – so flower givers beware. In the UK and US, yellow flowers are a symbol of friendship.

Don't get it wrong in Italy, or you risk sending out the wrong message.


If you play your cards right, that's exactly where you could be taking your Italian grandchildren in 40 years time...

Carpe Diem!

See More: Five reasons to date an Italian (and five not to)

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