Many language learners have considered (whether they like to admit it or not!) finding love or other romantic reasons when deciding to learn a new language.
Being able to speak and communicate in a second language instantly opens up your potential network and therefore potential friendships and romantic relationships by millions of people! One language that is certainly known for its romantic connotations is Italian. Moreover, many stereotypes exist about Italian men being some of the most romantic in the world!
Italian is a very romantic language, with its dulcet tones and smooth flowing, song-like conversations. Even Shakespeare thought so, setting fair Verona in Italy as the scene for the world’s most famous love story, Romeo and Juliet.
If you are going to travel to Italy in search of love, you are in luck as love landmarks are not in short supply. Places like the Trevi fountain in Rome and the rustic canals of Venice are popular proposal spots for people from all over the world!
So you already know that Italian is a romantic language and that Italy is a wonderful place to visit to find love, but do you know how to speak and interact with a potential partner in Italian? Our Italian linguist Sofia reveals her best Italian flirting secrets.
More about Italian as a romance language
Like French, Italian is viewed by many as a language of love. This assumption is certainly not wrong, and its Latin origin actually puts it into the family of romance languages, along with French, Spanish and Romanian. These languages sound more romantic just by their musical nature, for example in comparison to more harsh-sounding Germanic languages. A reason for this could be the elongation of vowels, making tones long and smooth.
So we know that the language itself is romantic, but what about the people? It’s a very well-established stereotype that Italian men are the most romantic in the world. Italian men are generally perceived as charming, family oriented, confident and flirtatious. As for Italian women, they are perceived to be very beautiful, classy and stylish, and also very family oriented and loving.
These stereotypes are not false, however it is important to keep in mind that not everyone is the same so they won’t apply to every Italian person you meet! In general, if an Italian guy sees you in a bar and likes you, he may approach you and say you look lovely, or simply greet you with phrases like ‘Ciao Bella’ (hello beautiful). Italian’s are generally very physical and will hug and kiss you on the cheek even if you have just met. What you might not have expected as a stereotype of Italian men is that they are crazy about football, almost as much as they are about beautiful women! In this modern era, Italian women are fiercely independent and have top level careers, so not just pretty faces at all!
Flirting in Italy
So, what is the general flirting etiquette in Italy? We have some pointers to share so you know what to expect if you travel to Italy in search of true love.
- Direct approaches: If someone sees you in public and thinks you are attractive, they generally will approach you directly and start a conversation. If you seem to be getting along well they will ask you for your number. Remember, this is in casual situations like sitting outside a coffee shop, walking along the street, drinking in a quiet bar.
- Out dancing: When people’s inhibitions are lowered on a night out dancing, this is a bit different and the approach may be more direct. You may be asked to dance or asked to take a drink with them straight up. This is more common with younger generations who travel to coastal areas like Salento and Riviera Romagnola for holidays.
- After the meeting: Once you have chatted a little in person and exchanged numbers, you may chat on Facebook or text each other to organise when you will meet up for a date.
Our top phrases to become a pro at flirting in Italian
Here are eight phrases to introduce you to the world of flirting in Italian. Whether you are planning to travel to Italy or surprise an Italian friend with some flirtatious phrases, we’re sure using them will score you a date with the handsome man or beautiful woman of your dreams!
The most common question used when approaching someone you like is ‘Ti va di prendere un caffè insieme?’ (Would you like to get a coffee together?). This can be used with friends and people you already know to organise a meeting, with a friend who you want to take on a date, or with someone you just met and want to get to know better.
2. I like your style…
Compliments are always a great way to win someone’s heart. If you say Mi piace la tua maglia/quello che hai postato su Facebook (I like your t–shirt/what you’ve posted on Facebook), you are giving them a compliment and indirectly saying ‘Hey, we have this in common!’ it’s a subtle way to introduce a conversation topic, such as TV show you both like and get to know each other.
3. Out dancing
We mentioned that when young Italians go out dancing at night, they have lowered inhibitions and are more confident and direct in their approaches to potential partners. Saying ‘Ciao, posso offrirti qualcosa da bere?’ (Hi, can I buy you a drink?) is a direct question avoiding any small talk. But be careful with this one, as some people may take it literally and just accept the drink and not continue the conversation! Make sure you’ve been making the eyes at the bar or on the dancefloor for a while before using this one.
4. Classic line
Again, compliments are a great way to boost someone’s mood and make them want to engage in flirting with you. ‘Hai degli occhi bellissimi,’ (You have beautiful eyes). This is a classic heartbreaker line and is guaranteed to cause blushing and swooning.
5. Friends first
Sometimes the best approach to flirting is to start off subtle, more friendly than romantic. Telling someone ‘Il tuo sorriso è davvero fantastico!’ (Your smile is really awesome!) will instantly make them feel happy and warm and open to chatting with you. An equally good option is ‘Mi piace il modo in cui ridi’ (I like the way you laugh).
6. Make the first move
We’ve all been there, when you’re making eye contact with someone and checking each other out from across the room, maybe even a cheeky wink or a smile, but neither has the confidence to come and start chatting to the other! ‘Ho visto che mi stavi guardando e ho pensato di venire qui a fare due chiacchiere’ (I saw you were looking at me and I thought I could come over and chat). Using this line will make you come across charming and confident, and besides, if you don’t make the first move, you may miss out on something special! Plus, it’s a nice way to start a conversation.
7. Conversation starters
Making eye contact is one thing, but it’s actually the conversation that determines whether the person is actually interested in you, so it’s good to know some conversation starters. ‘Hai visto Il Grande Fratello ieri sera?’ (Did you watch Big Brother last night?) Big Brother is one of the most popular TV shows amongst Italian people, and even if they don’t watch it, they probably know about it! This is a subtle way to find out what people have in common, or change the conversation to another TV show they do like.
Another ideal conversation starter is ‘Hai sentito Occidentali’s Karma?’ (Have you listened to Occidentali’s Karma?) In Italy, this is the hot topic of the moment: it was the winner at Festival di Sanremo, and it’s really catchy! Some people only listen to it for the music, others for the meaning. Either way, it’s a good song and it will start a conversation to get to know the other person’s taste in music, a vital topic in any relationship!
If you want to ask an Italian guy or girl out for dinner, try asking ‘Ti va di andare a prendere una pizza insieme?’ (Would you like to go and get pizza together?). This is a safe bet, as almost every Italian will say yes to pizza, it’s an offer you just can’t refuse! It’s also a great opportunity to set up a proper dinner date and try some authentic Italian pizza!
Perfecting your Italian skills to score a date
- Use your humour: Whether you use a classic line from a famous film like Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo’s (Italian actors who make comedy films and are known by everyone in Italy) like “So, tomorrow you are getting married…” “Yes, but it’s nothing serious!” or make a witty comment about something in your environment, you are sure to make people smile and take an interest in you. But, be careful when referencing films as the other person might not get what you are talking about! Also take care with the delivery of your joke, it may sound smart and funny in your head, but if it isn’t well received there may be an awkward moment!
- Don’t be too predictable: It is understandable that you might try and fit into the stereotype of what ‘romantic’ is in Italy, but try to be yourself and not fall into an Italian cliché. A good rule of thumb is to avoid being rude-mannered, mammone (mama’s boy), saying “I live for football” etc….
- Step outside your comfort zone: Italy is one of the romance capitals of the world, and this is probably because Italian people tend to wear their heart on their sleeve! If you like someone, be yourself and be confident. Chat to them, compliment them, ask them out for coffee and you have a good chance of winning their heart!
Do you have any tips and phrases for flirting in Italian, compliments or pick-up lines? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @FlashSticks!
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