When an Italian Man Says, “Amore”

I don’t know what it is about the Italian culture that speaks to my soul. I could probably list page upon page of beautiful things about Italy that make my eyes glaze over and my mind enter a dream-like state.

I fell in love with Italy and all things, people and places Italian when I was 17 and visited that most magical country as part of a school trip for two weeks.

I have never been the same.

I met amazing people, feasted on delicacies, viewed incredible sites. Then came back to the U.S. and set about making plans to go back. I spent four years at college taking every Italian class I could take – language, literature, film. I met other people like me, who wanted to learn, absorb and swap stories.

Six years after my first visit I made the opportunity to return to the amazing country again. I traveled from the top of the boot down to the toes soaking in every ounce of culture and Italian everything. The food. The people. The architecture. The natural sites. The history. My soul was complete.

Unfortunately it was another 14 years before I was able to visit again. With each visit my soul ached even more when I had to leave.

Italian men are notorious forward, romantic and just… Italian. I appreciate that. Even first generation American Italians are pretty incredible in my book. I’m not talking about the TV Italians who bastardize the language and are too cool for themselves, but the ones who know their own culture, can speak their language and embody what it is to be an Italian.

Let me be clear before I continue. I’m not Italian. Not one drop of blood. Not one hair follicle. I can pass for one when I’m there because I speak the language and have enough of “the look.” Maybe I’d feel differently if I was Italian. But I doubt it.

Amazing things happen when Italian men say the words, “Ciao Bella,” and give the approving look… when they speak of the word, “amore.” Even in song.

Italians feel love in everything they do. It’s a wonderful way to live. Taking the time to appreciate life, the people around them, the sights and smells of everything.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that, unlike in the U.S., Italians do not say, “I love you,” to every person, animal and blade of grass they see. It is a cherished phrase only used for THE person with whom they fall in love…for life. The concept of love is all encompassing, but the phrase, “I love you,” “Ti amo,” is not. Other ways to show great affection or closeness do exist (“Ti voglio bene”), but to hold, cherish and protect love so closely while living love is fascinating.

Anyone can listen to Italian music and feel the passion (not sex, passion) coming from the words and the way the words are phrased. The artists speak of love freely, beautiful love, wonderful love. Just love.

I love it.

I’ve had random men serenade me. (I’ll chalk that up to the American Woman appeal when I was younger.) But, there are few things that can make this woman’s heart melt faster than hearing a man in a gentle voice speak of Italy and the love of the people, the love of the food, the beautiful life that exists truly all around us – not just in Italy. Put that to music, add some Italian words like “bella” and “amore” and I’m like a pile of mush.

I pretend I’m not. Really, I do. But inside… Voglio un bell’amore. I want a beautiful love. For now, I will live vicariously through beautiful music and wonderful film. I will dream of my next vacation in Italy and maybe, just maybe, of a serendipitous meeting with an Italian man.



19 thoughts on “When an Italian Man Says, “Amore”

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  1. I obviously like your post because, well, I’m Italian 🙂 Your analysis of Italian men made me smile… Years ago I decided I could live without the “Bella” and “Amore” stuff, so I married a Dutch guy and never looked back. The reason why I did it deserves a full post. Nevertheless I wish your dream comes true! Ciao!

  2. I’d LOVE to hear your story!
    I was married to a German/Irishman. But, I have had so many friendship with Italians (mostly at least part Calabrese) it’s become a joke in my house. There must be some sort of fate thing going on. 🙂
    Grazie per il “Like”

    1. Well! Northern Europeans are not famous for their passion, I know 🙂 But they do have other qualities I appreciate. Of course it all depends on what you are looking for in a man. All I can say here is that Italian men can make you feel like a queen, true but it all comes at a price once the honeymoon has gone 😉 I just can’t stand their wandering eye or their constant flirting with any moving woman around, hehe. Just my opinion (and experience) but I don’t want to spoil your genuine enthusiasm for them and for Italy. Ciao!

  3. 🙂
    I can definitely understand what you mean. It’s legendary… unfortunately.
    And, you’re right — I am living in my little dream bubble and I appreciate that you didn’t pop it. LOL

  4. Nice post to read. I recently met an American/Italian widower on Ourtime.com. His parents brought him to the U.S. when he was 17. We are just beginning an email relationship..both in our 60s….and all I can say is that I am thoroughly enjoying the caring and passionate correspondence we have going. I keep my head in reality…..but it is so much fun being “adored.” We’ll see what happens if we ever meet. He’s a cutie, though!

  5. Italy is a fantastic country, the food, wine, people, art, history the list is endless.
    But the other side of the coin is, it is the most disorganised European country I have ever visited. everything is complicated. I still love the place but at times it is a very difficult country to live in.

  6. Thank you for sharing. I have fallen head over heals for an Italian man in our small town. He is professional, polite, and always a pleasure to be with and around. It’s been a 10 year casual liaison, and while we speak via social media, have dinners together, coffee from time to time and share socialist development ideals there is nothing I wouldn’t want more than from this man than more personal attention. I find I am in a little bit of a difficult spot. I am not asking advice, I am just so swayed and while we both mature, I sure do feel giddy infatuated with this man.

    He is not suave, and foolish and does not flaunt his “Italian” status. He is socially conscious and I think it’s that more than anything that has attracted my attention. His accent just sends me into a whirl of desire. I battle to control myself, and find it difficult to look at him without a wry smile.

    I often wonder if my thoughts show on my face when I am talking to him.

    I am coming out of a long term relationship and know that this is not a rebound situation, it’s almost like an awakening I would say, I feel alive again. I feel as though someone opened up “Pandora’s Box”!

    Your description of Italian men is by my experience of this man, apt. I may not have the joy or pleasure of more from this relationship as he keeps himself to himself but I sure know that when I am able to begin a relationship again, it will be with an Italian. I must however, thank him for this new found sense of joy I am living through at present!

    Long live Italian men, they have truly restored my faith in relationships!

    1. Thank you for sharing.
      I love hearing things like this from people. It reinforces my own thoughts. 🙂
      I wish you the best of luck with whatever the future has in store. If this connection is mutual – may you, at minimum, have a lifelong friend in him. Decades of Italian friendships have shown me it’s far worth every ounce of energy you put in.
      Incidentally – please read my post – Dedicated to my Italian friends. You’ll see what I mean. 🙂
      Hugs, TFG

  7. Wonderful International article, congratulations! I think you’re currently feeling more italian than a big portions of the inhabitants. See, currently we’re experiencing a lot of difficulties: politics, economy and welfare (sometimes it’s hard to explain the welfare concept to US citizen, even if i think you perfectly know it, but just consider that instead of private social security we directly pay something around the half of our wages in taxes who SHOULD provide us health and other essential services). Many people, even I, are considering of going abroad. It could be magic, could be a sort of fairytale but there are worms who are litterally eating the country from the inside. I hope your passion will be able to spread the will of fighting for this beautiful country that i love.
    And trust me, by saying i love, i really mean “che Amo”, with the A as a capital letter.
    Thanks my dear, i hope you’ll be able to fullfill your dreams.
    Buonanotte (it’s late here and tomorrow i’m going to work!)
    Al from Torino, Italy.

    1. Al,
      Ti ringrazie tantissimo!
      I have heard of some of the problems plaguing Italy. I truly hope that all can be turned around. There is so much to be learned, experienced and the culture itself is unequalled.
      I will continue to keep the fairy tale of your magnificent country alive as best I can with everyone I encounter.
      Thank you for reading.

  8. You say that ‘ti amo’ is reserved for when Italians truly mean that they’ve met their soulmate – but what about non-Italians who are living and working in Italy longterm… Would the phrase ‘ti amo’ be as powerful to them or would it just be like our ‘I love you’? Especially amongst young people nowadays I’ve heard that ‘ti amo’ is losing its wondrous rarity…

    1. Honestly, that is a great question. As I am not a native Italian and am still learning the language 25+ years later, I’d wager a guess that “Ti amo” is more sacred to the Gen Xers and older, as well as to the more traditional Southern Italians. Non-Italians who use the phrase seem to be misusing it and that misuse is understood in a sense. It also gets complicated also because even “Ti voglio bene” can be understood to mean “I love you” between lovers, as well as family and friends. I’m not sure if I prefer the specificity of “Ti Amo” vs “Ti voglio bene,” or if I like the all encompassing “I love you,” here in the U.S. It’s far more confusing our way, I think.

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