The Expat’s Guide to Dating in Italy


Feb 08 • 5 minute read

Ah, Italy! What better country to look for love? Italy is one of the most romantic places in the world where dating is a form of art. But as an expat, entering the dating scene can be a daunting task. Wondering how to tell if your date is serious or why the family’s approval is essential to your relationship? We have your back. Read on to learn the basics of dating in Italy and which dating apps will bring you the most success.

Dating in Italy

Going on dates in a new country can be exciting and scary. To prevent any hiccups on your date, you need to know the intricacies of dating in Italy.

One of the first things to learn about dating in Italy is that Italians are passionate, outgoing, and enjoy the finer things in life.

Dating in Italy is traditional

Italians have a traditional approach to dating compared to other Western countries. For instance, it’s culturally accepted that men pay the cheque or open doors for women. So, women who’re used to splitting the bill or taking the lead might have a slight culture shock. And if you’re a man trying to date an Italian woman, bring out your chivalrous side.

Dating in Italy is slow and steady

A true Italian romance is taking things slowly, finding pleasure in dating, and playing a game of courtship. For Italians, the prelude to the relationship is as important as the relationship itself. But don’t expect to settle down quickly because they want to make sure you’re the right person for them.

Dating in Italy is passionate

Going out with an Italian is a passionate affair, so expect to be showered with compliments and affection. Don’t be surprised if they want to be affectionate on the first date and try to kiss you. If that’s not your style, let them know.

Dating in Italy is big on expressions

When dating an Italian, there’re no mind games. Italians are expressive people, and when dating, they expect you to communicate freely. This relates to texting as well. So, if you had a lovely time on the date, send them a text once you’ve parted ways.

Dating in Italy is heavy on flirting

Flirting is very important in Italy, so be prepared for a lot of eye contact, compliments, and physical touch. The flirting stage can go well into a month because they like to savour every moment of this blooming romance.

Dating in Italy is a stylish affair

Italy is known for its fashion and it’s not surprising that this seeps into dating. Italians put effort into looking good when they go on a date, so make sure you do the same. Don’t show up in a pair of leggings if it’s not sports related. Wear that favourite outfit you're saving for special occasions.

Dating in Italy is big on physical displays of affection

This shouldn't come as a surprise as Italians are passionate and flirtatious. Welcome the touches, hand-holding, kisses and public displays of affection. Of course, if this isn't your cup of tea, you don't have to do it!

Dating in Italy is queer

The Italian LGBTQ+ scene is becoming more accepted, especially among the younger generations. Some of the bigger cities host Pride parades and have prominent LGBTQ+ communities. So finding love shouldn’t be a problem in cities like Milan, Bologna, Turin and Florence. Getting serious? While you can be in a civil partnership with your significant other, same-sex marriage and adoption are not yet legal.

Dating in Italy is a social affair

Meeting someone in Italy often happens socially rather than online. You’ll have better luck meeting your Italian soulmate through friends, in a group setting or through a common interest. If you’re interested in something more casual, nightclubs and bars are the place to go.

Dating in Italy is a family affair

Italian families are often very close. This means that your Italian boo will love spending time with their family. Getting the family’s approval will be essential if you want your new relationship to blossom.

Also, don’t be surprised if your date still lives with their parents. It’s culturally accepted in Italy to live at your parent’s home in your 20s. A study has shown that the average age Italians move out of their parents’ homes is 30 years!

If you're bringing a bouquet for your date’s mother, remember to buy an odd number of flowers. It’s considered bad luck if you gift an even number.

Dating in Italy is being relaxed about time

Being late for a date is not a deal-breaker in Italy. Arriving 10-15 minutes late to a date is understandable, especially if you are stuck in bad traffic. Remember to always text them and inform them if you’re running late!

Dating in Italy is sharing a delicious meal

Italy is famous for its delicious cuisine, and it’s no surprise that food plays a big role in dating. Cooking is, in fact, a love language in Italy. So if you’re dating an Italian and they offer to cook for you, know that they’re expressing their appreciation!

To play it safe, the perfect meal for your first date would be an aperitivo. Its meaning comes from the Latin apere, which means “to open” the stomach before dining. The great thing about it is that if the date goes badly, you won’t have to endure a three-course dinner. But if you’re having the time of your life, it’s the perfect opportunity to continue with the night.

Dating in Italy is a wild ride

Most Italians living in big cities prefer to drive as it’s more convenient than public transport. So if they offer to pick you up, don’t be alarmed, they're just being considerate. You can decline if you don’t feel comfortable and agree to meet where you’re going. But if you choose to ride with them, be aware that Italians are known to be rash drivers.

Best Dating Apps in Italy

Dating apps are popular in bigger cities and often among expats, students and tourists. They’re the easiest way to meet someone when you don’t know anyone yet as they suggest people based on your geolocation and dating preferences. Here’s a list of Italy's 6 most popular dating apps.

  1. Tinder: Italy's most popular dating app that is mostly used for casual dating and hookups.

  2. Meetic: the second most popular dating app in Italy. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a serious relationship. Profiles are pretty detailed, making Meetic a great app for finding your perfect partner. While Tinder can be used for free, you need a subscription for Meetic. Prices start at €9.99 per month.

  3. Bumble: users fill out prompts that show more about their character. The biggest difference is that only women can make the first move on Bumble. But in same-sex matches, both parties can send the first message.

  4. Badoo: it’s the most-downloaded app in Italy. The app allows you to see the Facebook profiles of friends and friends’ friends. Considering Italians tend to find their dates through their social circles, this could be a great app to consider.

  5. Grindr: perhaps it’s not surprising that Grindr is the most popular app in Italy for gay, bi, trans and queer people. All matches are proximity-based and filtered by sexuality and age.

  6. Her: this dating app was designed by “queer people for queer people”. On Her, you can easily meet queer women or find LGBTQ+ events near you.

Now that you know how to find a date in Italy and what the Italian dating culture is like, go out there and find your un amore grande!

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