It's impossible to wander the land of leather and government-funded orgies without thinking sexy thoughts.
Italy's a country of aphrodisiacs; Casanova himself got juiced on dark chocolate before bedding his conquests. Whatever you're inhaling -- be it truffles, Calabrian chilies, Chianti, oysters or salami -- chances are, it'll prime you for lovin'. OTP's got a few pointers to make sure you don't leave the pleasure boot with sfere blu.
Look the Part
Photo by: AllSeasons
Even if they're just grabbing a cappuccino or going for a jog, Italians look good. In a country of well-kempt people, morning-after hair and college hoodies make you look more 'merican than Sarah Palin with a sawed-off shotgun eating burgers in the bed of a Ford pickup. Keep the backpack light: one pair of sassy jeans or black pants, a decent shirt you can layer (when in doubt, go black) and a pair of not-running shoes will do the trick. Guys, Italian chicks dig black socks; wear those white Champions mom bought you and you can kiss BJs goodbye.
Photo by: marin.tomic
All things considered, Italy's a little more conservative sexually and regarding bullshit gender roles than, say, those liberated Spaniards or Cosmo-drinking power suits in America. Guys, especially in southern Italy, are the aggressors and women, the coy recipients of their advances. That said, some things are the same everywhere: Singles tend to meet singles through friends. Italians often feel each other out on a "group date" (like boozing with friends) before feeling each other up. Ladies, don't assume that he's not interested if he asks you to go out with him and his friends and not alone.
Let Him Turn on the Charm
Photo by: Sion Fullana
From old Sicilian men hanging on park benches to twenty-something dudes at Roman bars, Italy has a very high salsiccia to bun ratio. Add to this the general assumption that Western chicks will spread eagle for any Italian who can boil some pasta, and you've got hordes of Italian men trying to pack every fanny that passes. Needless to say, a foreign woman won't have much trouble finding an eager Italian to stuff her calzone.
If you're almost lady-like and looking for a longer short-term fling, this puts you in a position to make him work a little. If nothing else, you may as well let him romance you with a private moped tour and a home-cooked meal (or dinner at a locals' favorite) as you play not-ridiculously-easy to get.
OTP Tip: There's no national rule on who pays and when. Many guys up north -- and often in Rome -- will let women get their own drinks (and maybe offer a cigarette to steal some alone time), while the down south machismo "gentlemen" will pay their way.
The Hostess with the Mostest
If your date offers to walk you home, they want what you got: walls mamma can't hear through. It's common for Italians to live with their parents until they get married. No matter how independent Massimo acts, his mom probably still makes his lunch. If you're lucky, maybe she'll make you lunch in a few days. If you don't have a (bunk) bed to offer, you might have to put out for a private room... or in the car.
Rainbows Under the Pope's Staff
Photo by: Giovanni Dall'Orto
Italy's a popular spot for gay travelers and pretty open with regard to sexual identity. That said, Italians have a strong Catholic identity and the associated conservatism means that they're not 100 percent accepting either (gay marriage is still illegal). No surprise, big cities like Milan can be a sexy gay mecca, while small towns are usually less forward-thinking. Most cities have a smallish, but bumpin', group of gay bars. A good way to meet gay locals and tag along to their favorite hangouts is through the LGBT group on Couchsurfing. Warning: The Italian man's Euro vanity can be sexually confusing. Don't assume that because a dude has a few buttons undone and hair as manicured as his waxed chest, that he's on your team.
The Village People
Photo by: _Monbravo
Since Italy is working with a native female minority, women are very protective of their eligible bachelors and men are very protective of their townswomen. Especially in the south, many Italians refer to boyfriends and girlfriends as fidanzato/a, a word that translates directly to "fiancée" but is used long before there's an official proposal. Basically, they stake their claims early, just in case. You don't want to step on any toes, so don't make noise, make nice... with everyone around before going in for the kill. Practice your Italian, compliment the local cuisine and always look your bar mates in the eye when you clink.
True Italians treat every day like a celebration, and whether it's for a harvest or a saint, there's always a festival going on somewhere. Italians are insanely social and finding your mojo in the waterfalls of wine won't be a problem. Now go out there and throw your salami around with the best of them.
Written By: Jaclyn Einis