The 7 Deadly Dates in Rome

The 7 Deadly Dates in Rome

Don’t pretend you didn’t come to Rome with the fantasy of falling deeply in love, possibly experiencing the best sex of your life and potentially living happily ever. It’s okay. There’s no judgement here – we’re all practising or recovering Italophiles. In fact, calling this a ‘fantasy’ degrades what is, in my opinion, a brilliant and feasible plan for your time here in Italy.

Do Italians do it better? Have fun discovering the answer to this question for yourself. But to help you in your Roman courtships, I thought I’d share a few personal experiences that perhaps you can learn from. I apologise to my male readers, this is dating from a girl’s perspective, however, at least it may give you an idea of what you’re competing with when you’re trying to woo a local girl. As a foreign girl in Rome it’s not hard to get a date, in fact, the real art is in choosing your company with discernment.

He picked me up in a gullwing extravaganza, took me to Assunta Madre, and suggested flying my family out to Italy from Australia at his expense in case I missed them.

Cashed up and Connected

They pick you up at your house from inside the centro storico because the ‘varchi attivi’ sign poses no problem. They have an apartment (or two) in the centre and therefore have a vehicle pass to drive through the centre of town as a resident. They insist on picking you up from your door because they want to show off their very expensive car, even though the restaurant is within walking distance. I had one of these types pick me up in what seemed like a spaceship Lamborghini and take me to La Pergola, the only three-Michelin star restaurant in Rome. Admittedly it was one of the best and most experiential meals of my life. He organised a meeting with the world famous Executive Chef Heinz Beck, a signed copy of his recipe book and the promise of private cooking classes. Another gentleman of this ‘type’ picked me up in a gullwing extravaganza straight out of a Bond film, took me to Assunta Madre, which again, is a beautiful fine dining experience and suggested flying my family out to Italy from Australia at his expense in case I ‘missed them’. They talk of hooking you up jobs, apartments, sorting out your visa issues and to be fair, this is the type of country where you need a network to make things happen. The problem with this type is that often they are Italian men of a certain age who are like Anglosaxon males going through a mid-life crisis with the car, the late nights, the arm candy but they’ve leap-frogged the family and kids part so they have no emotional maturity or basic relationship know-how. They have the behaviour and lifestyle of a 26-year-old boy, the cash flow and connections of a man twice that age, yet the immaturity and fear of commitment present in Peterpan guys who have never had a real relationship. They can be fun if you feel like being spoilt but dull conversationalists when you realise everything is tainted by their everpresent fear of growing old and settling down.

Moving Festa with a Side of Famiglia

Then there are those who organise a series of events so that you go from day at the beach straight to an aperitivo, on to dinner, then a rooftop party and then dancing. These guys get an A+ for organisation and Rome is made for these types of multi-location dates where swimming merges organically into dancing over aperitivo anyway. I had one experience where a boy picked me up for an aperitivo, followed by a fashion parade, followed by a trip out to a major party in a villa halfway to Tuscany and after dancing until sunrise I was dropped back home to sleep for two hours before he was back to take me out to his family’s country villa where his father was cooking a traditional lunch. This type of non-stop action is a heady mix for any girl, let alone an Italophile. The move of taking a girl home to mamma is not to be undervalued. Some Italian boys will profess their love, swear you’re the only one but hide you from their parents and close friends because ultimately you’re nothing  but a foreign fling and they don’t want probing questions from their family about their intentions with ‘that girl you brought home for pasta’.

It’s every Roman’s go-to date routine that they’ve been using on foreign women for hundreds of years

Choose Your Own Adventure

One very clever and considerate ragazzo gave me four options, including a picnic and bike riding in Villa Borghese, lunch in the piazza at the incredible seafood restaurant Pierluigi, a trip out to swim, sip cocktails and dance at Fregene, or a pool party with a group of stylish young friends with a villa in the hills of Rome. If your date is just offering you ‘the view from Gianicolo’, I say he lacks imagination.

Whisk-You-Away Weekender

The ones who are deadly for a foreign girl are those who tease you with lines like “Let’s just go away on my yacht for the weekend to Capri” or “I have this little villa in Tuscany, can I take you there for a few days and show you where I grew up?” or even “A group of us are going to Sardegna for the weekend, there’s a yacht, there’s a house, there’s a party – no pressure, we just go as friends, I pick you up in 10, bring a bikini and a cocktail dress.” This kind of invitation does happen in Italy and it can be tempting because often they are ‘group activities’ so you’re not inclined to get romantic if you decide you don’t like their company halfway through a cocktail in Positano… however, you have to be careful. Italian men pay for everything and so it’s my opinion that if you’re still undecided about your feelings for the ‘whisker’, it’s good manners to decline a weekend where he foots the conto.

Straniera Package Tour

“You are not Italian? Ah, it would be ‘un piacere‘ to show you Rome by night on my Vespa.” How many times have I heard this? And you know, the first three or four times it really is a beautiful way to spend an evening. After a while though, you realise that it doesn’t really tell you anything about the creativity or effort of the boy in question, as it’s every Roman’s go-to date routine that they’ve been using on foreign women for hundreds of years.

Diehard Dinner Daters

These are almost like the kind above in that they have zeroed in on the poetic image of an Italian guy cooking at home for a foreign girl. Many of them have no idea what they’re doing in the kitchen and are just using mamma’s monthly supply of pasta sauce that they defrosted 20 minutes before you came, however, they get extra points for going to the trouble of cooking and inviting you to their home. Be warned though, this can often be a thinly veiled attempt to get you naked as it’s easier than taking you out to dinner and then convincing you to come inside.

Team Player

They invite you away skiing or sailing or out for a night dancing with all their super cool friends. This can be great fun and an excellent way to broaden your social circle. The only thing to watch out for is whether he’s just a serial dater who never takes on the official title of ‘fidanzato’. Don’t accept it if they tell you that Rome is all about dating multiple people and keeping things casual. If an Italian feels strongly about you and isn’t seeing other people on the side, it’s official to their friends, family and everyone in their home village. Beware of the phrase ‘ci frequentiamo‘, which basically means, ‘we’re seeing each other and sleeping together but I don’t consider her important enough to make her my official girlfriend’.

Happy dating!

Want to read about real life dating in the Eternal City? You can find my ramblings on this subject in How to Flirt and Compliment in Italian and in What’s it Really Like to Date an Italian or in What to Cook an Italian Lover.

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Kylie is hopelessly romantic Australian girl who moved to Italy some years ago and is convinced the dolce vita exists. She is the host, producer, cameraman and editor of several TV shows all filmed in Italy that air on NatGeo, Discovery and TLN Canada in 68 countries. Some of these include 'When Patrick Met Kylie: A Love (of Food) Story' (Italia Dolce Vita or Comer y Vivir en Italia), 'When in Rome' (season 1 and 2), 'When in Florence', 'Amore Al Dente: Classic Italian Food Stories' and 'The Dolce Vita Diary'. You can check out all her latest projects on her site http://kylieflavell.com/ but you'll find her Instagram feed (KylieFlavell), Twitter account (@Kylie_Flavell) and Facebook page (Kylie Flavell) are updated daily. Moving to Italy was the best decision of her life.

17 Comments

  • This is the most ridicules article I have ever read about Italians. None of this applies to Italians in general, or even men. This person obviously attracts retards. How about the (Italian) men out there that are normal and looking for real relationships? I know all about them because I married one. Shame on Romeing for even publishing this.

    • I think there are some people who act in this way but the article do not give at all the right image of the Italians.
      There are such immature people but these are the minority. There are many who would really like to meet a foreign girl to get married. These are not going to marry the first one they meet, but they are really looking for it.
      Enjoy!

    • Hi Samantha, i’m an Italian (boy) and i have to say that Kylie is right at least regarding what “ci frequentiamo” means. We usually say that to say we go out, hang out and “have fun” with a “friend”. And look at the virgolette. 😉 not properly a fidanzata.

  • Where on earth do you meet these men? I have been on plenty of dates with Roman men and have never had any of these experiences!! Although I haven’t had the most positive dating experience in Rome, I agree with Samantha on this one. This article is quite ridiculous!

  • Hey there Samantha. I just approved your comments because I’m disappointed to hear you feel this way. We try to keep things fairly light and have a laugh about the foreign experience in Rome so it’s not ever intended to be the definitive evaluation of Italian men. I suggest you read an article I wrote over a year ago about dating an Italian who was not, as you say, a ‘retard’. 🙂 http://www.romeing.it/so-whats-it-really-like-to-date-an-italian/

    • Making general statements about how all Italian men think about foreign women is really strange to me. It doesn’t matter if they are Italian or African or French or American, men all over the world can be good or bad lovers, can cheat on you, break your heart or be capable of falling in love. Personally, I date HUMAN BEINGS, I married a human being. He happens to be from here, but maybe unlike some foreign women I never had a romanticized version of Italian men were likeor Latin men, etc, so I didn’t attract men that seem you like to write about. Maybe you’d have better experiences if you just tried to know the humanity of the person rather than the nationality. I am so bored of hearing about what Italian do or not do. Every person is different.

      • I completely agree with you Samantha. In fact, I think you may have misinterpreted me as we’re actually saying the same thing. I’ve only ever had incredibly positive experiences romantically, never had my heart broken and, as I wrote in the article, been fortunate to meet romantic boys who take me home to meet their family, organize beautiful dates and were all looking for ‘una storia seria’ rather than a fling. However, I’m surrounded by straniere who lament the fact that they can’t find the elusive ‘real relationship’ here. I hate hearing about women who have given up on all Italians after being lied to by one – perhaps you could offer them some advice after having lived here so long. You’ve obviously fallen in love and married an Italian because you’re open-minded and have a deep understanding of this culture. If you read my article What It’s Really Like to Date an Italian you’ll see that I strongly counter anyone who believes the stereotype of mammoni infedeli.

        “The men here aren’t all cheating mamma’s boys. I’ve spent this entire year with an Italian who spoils me, is honest, isn’t married, jealous or possessive, and takes me down south to his pasta-making mamma and his sweet papa’, who, incidentally, shares all the housework equally with his wife. He brings me breakfast in bed almost every morning; he lets me go to dinner alone with other males then gives me a lift on his Vespa afterwards to make sure I get home safe; and he takes me to a different town in Italy almost every weekend. Of course, I can become invisible when his soccer team is playing and we’ve had enough fights in Italian to render my use of the imperative almost flawless. But hearing ‘ti amo’ for the first time from someone who means it, is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. And I hear there are others out there like him; lurking in alleyways of Campo Marzio, gliding by on vintage bicycles in Monti and just waiting to fall deeply in amore with a foreigner like you.”

  • Surely you can’t get worked up over a fun article like this? It’s clearly tongue-in-cheek. Best to subscribe to The Economist if you want something a little more dry. Looking forward to the next – love the site!

  • hilarious!!!! and so very true (coming from a girl who has now lived in Italy for 10 years and is married to an Italian!!)

  • Sounds like Samantha married the wrong “Human Being” sounds to me like she’s little defensive? She obviously hasn’t been treated this way..

    Having said that, I think Italian men are great, they make it so much easier for me being from England.

  • Loved the article Kylie! I can absolutely relate all my dating experiences in Italy to this. I’m rather like yourself, I believe that Italian men are absolutely romantic and gentlemen. Well, or maybe I have always been lucky to have met the genuine and lovely Italian gentlemen who always treated me like a princess. Looking forward to more articles, Kylie! 🙂

  • I think the article was great! It was light but with essence, entertaining, fun to read and informative about some possible situations you may see yourself in, when dating in Roma. Stayed with the facts and it did not pretend to make any judgements or generalizations about the ‘Romano’ men. That is how I read it. The title was: The 7 deadly dates in Rome, and in my opinion Kylie stuck to the subject. I am prety sure there are super nice guys too, but this article was not about them; it was about 7 situations you may run into.
    Now, knowing these possible situations, the take home lesson in my opinion is how one would handle ourselves as well as the ‘moment’

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