Dating Customs in Italy: How to Flirt, Date and Marry Like an Italian!

Prepare for an Italian love affair—with the land, food or a new sweetheart. In the beautiful surroundings, it’s natural to seek an exciting romance with a passionate Italian. Here we’ll answer questions like, “How do I introduce my new boyfriend/girlfriend to friends?” or “What are Italian terms of endearment?”


To get acquainted with an Italian or look for una storia seria (serious relationship), show off your language skills!


Ciao! Mi chiamo … e sono … – Hello! My name is … and I am… (American, Canadian, etc)

Come ti chiami? – What’s your name?

Mi piaci! – I like you!

Vuoi ballare? – Shall we dance?

Facciamo una passeggiata. – Let’s go for a walk.

Posso prenderti per mano? – Can I hold your hand?

Vorrei baciarti  – I’d like to kiss you.

Mi lasci senza fiato. – You leave me breathless.


Italian couples like to take walks, watch movies, chat and share hobbies. Your partner will enjoy hearing Vuoi che ti accompagni? (Do you want me to come with you?). In Italy it’s OK to kiss (baciarsi) and hug (abbracciarsi) in public, in moderation. Italians introduce partners as il mio ragazzo or la mia ragazza (my boyfriend/girlfriend) or the old-fashioned version, fidanzato/fidanzata (fiancé/fiancée).

Dialectal equivalents include:

Sicilian – zitu/zita

Venetian – moroso/morosa

Neapolitan – ‘nnammurato/’nnammurata

You may hear Amore (my love), Tesoro (treasure) or other nicknames: biscottino (cookie), piccolino/piccolina (small one) or cucciolo (puppy).

Italians become geloso/gelosa (jealous) if you pay too much attention to others. If you hear è mio! (He’s mine!) your ragazzo/a may be having a scenata di gelosia (jealous fit).


You may suggest a traditional matrimonio (marriage) or a convivenza (cohabitation).  When you ask “Vuoi sposarmi?” (Will you marry me?), make it a romantic moment!


For some Italian weddings, the testimone dello sposo (best man) or testimone della sposa (maid of honor) purchases the fedi (wedding rings), while the mother of the groom (sposo) provides the bride’s bouquet.

The ceremony (sposarsi) can be church (chiesa) or civil (Comune). Afterward, guests shower the sposi novelli (newlyweds) with rice.

The ricevimento (wedding party) has music, dance, fine food and wine and a magnificent torta nuziale (wedding cake). The couple gives each guest a bomboniera, a small decorated sachet filled with confetti (sugar-coated almonds). Before leaving on their Luna di Miele (honeymoon), la sposa (bride) throws her bouquet toward her unmarried girlfriends to determine the next to get married.

Breaking Up

Lasciarsi happens and is never pleasant. After a fight, both people may rejoice, saying they are finalmente libero/a (free at last).

To express anger, say: “non ti voglio più vedere” (I don’t want to see you anymore), “esci dalla mia vita” (I want you out of my life), “vattene!” (begone!), “non ne posso più” (I cannot take it anymore) or “ti odio” (I hate you).

If you’ve simply fallen out of love, say “mi dispiace” (I’m sorry), “non ti merito” (I don’t deserve you), “per favore, non chiamarmi più” (please, do not call me anymore), “non ti amo più” (I don’t love you anymore) or “cerca di essere felice” (just try to be happy).

Italians may reply: “ah sì? Anche io ti odio” (Oh yeah? I hate you too), “finalmente è finita, non ti sopportavo più” (It’s finally over; I couldn’t stand you anymore) or “ti prego, non lasciarmi” (I’m begging you, don’t leave me).

Life Goes On

La famiglia is key to Italians’ enjoyment of life. They cherish time with extended family. When bambinos (babies) arrive, the beautiful cycle of dating and love is soon to follow.