Single Life
Here's what you should know before dating an Italian man.

Here Are The Pros And Cons Of A Relationship With An Italian Man

Though not all Italian men are alike, of course.

by Domenica D'Ottavio
piola666/E+/Getty Images

If you're single and find yourself fantasizing about a love affair in the Mediterranean — don't. While Italy is well-known for its food, art, and scenery, Italian men have a reputation of their own. Italian guys are widely considered to be some of the most romantic in the world. But before you book your flight, take it from a pro like me and consider the pros and cons of dating an Italian man.

Maybe your lover is out there waiting patiently for you with a bottle of crisp Italian rosé — but there are some things you should keep in mind before falling for the first Valentino you meet when you step off the plane. Read on to learn more about my experience dating an Italian man (or several) and make up your mind for yourself: Romeo, or no Romeo?

Italian men are gorgeous...

Italian men are good looking. Even the ones who aren't blessed with a statuesque figure or a chiseled face know how to put on a show for the ladies. In Italy, being handsome isn't just an attribute, it's a way of life. When Italians leave the house for the day, they dress to make a good impression — and they don't disappoint.

From the gel in their hair to the polish on their shoes, Italian men look like they're headed for the runway even when they're just taking an evening walk around the piazza

But that means you're expected to be gorgeous, too.

Italian men can be vain. They take pride in their appearance. They will likely spend more time in front of the mirror than you do when getting ready. His eyebrows will be perfectly combed and he will smell like he just bathed in a vat of cologne. He will expect the same level of perfection from you, which might lead to criticism. He will even notice if your shoes don't match your bag.

On one date in Italy, the first thing a guy said when he greeted me was, "Wow! You must have gained five kilos since we last met!" At first, I thought his candor was refreshing, and then I realized he was just a jacka**.

Italian men are romantic...

Kathrin Ziegler/DigitalVision/Getty Images

If you let an Italian man come onto you, you will soon feel like you are the only woman in the world. He will plan a romantic evening. He will take you for romantic walks, make eyes at you all evening, call you pet names within minutes of meeting you, and sometimes, he'll profess his love to you before you even know his last name. He will buy you flowers, take you for a candlelit dinner and then for a moonlit walk around the piazza. He'll insist that he never truly experienced life until he met you.

You won't believe a word of it, but he will (at least for the evening). Italian men are intoxicating.

But the romance is not just for you.

Going on vacation in Italy and want a little romance? No problem. Looking for a husband? Be careful. An Italian man will tell you that you are the love of his life and there is no one more beautiful than you. Don't fall into this trap! Of course, there are exceptions, but in my experience, they're rare.

Enjoy yourself, but but protect your heart — and don't expect him to put a ring on it.

Italian men like to have fun...

Italian men like to enjoy themselves, laugh and not worry too much. He will take you on mini trips to the coast or take you to concerts in the piazza. He loves to eat, drink and spend time in the company of his friends and family.

His dates will always be exciting.

But they’re mama's boys.

You've heard of someone being close with their family, but Italians take it to a whole new level. There are few things in this world stronger than the bond between an Italian mother and her son. Half of Italian men still live at home with their mothers — a phenomenon known in Italy as "mammone", which is a not-so-polite way of saying "big mommas boys."

Think I'm exaggerating? In Italy, three out of 10 marriages end in divorce because of the close bond between Italian men and their mothers.

Italian men are passionate...

LeoPatrizi/E+/Getty Images

The passion doesn't end there. Italians have been known to be some of the best lovers, and from what I know from my own limited experience and the experiences of my friends, this isn't far off — but not in the way you think. While American men are criticized for how they treat a one-night stand, Italian men pull out all the stops.

You won't have to sneak past his roommates in the morning with heels in hand while he snores. He will make you coffee. He will bring you home. And he will treat you with the same respect and interest he did when he was courting you.

But also intense.

Many foreigners in Italy are often unfairly perceived as 'cold' or 'dry' because they are a bit more reserved. This is because Italians are ruled by emotion. He is passionate in everything he does, thinks and says, which can go from endearing to exhausting very quickly. He will exercise the full range of his emotional spectrum at every opportunity and will seem theatrical when expressing himself.

Every word that comes out of his mouth is supplemented by a hand gesture, and sometimes you'll wonder if he's angry with you or just really interested in what he's saying.

While Italian men have become some of my best friends, I wouldn't be quick to settle down with one. Here's my advice for women traveling to Italy and looking for love. Be cautious, take your time, enjoy yourself, and make sure he gives you a tour of the city.