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  • Italian Men: Why Women Can't Get Enough of Them?
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    I appreciate all things Italian but nothing as much as Italian men. I don't know if they are God's gift to women, but they are certainly God's gift to me. The best of them are dark, strong, sensitive, charming, playful, emotional, smart and oh so beautiful. From the late actor Marcello Mastroianni to my own papà Pasquale Di Meglio, Italian men have a way about them that is irresistible to the opposite sex. The Italians I grew up with -- from papà and my brother to my cousins and uncles -- showed me that real men tell you that you're beautiful and really mean it, feed you to show their affection, cry rarely but genuinely and work hard in honor of the woman they love.

    I'm definitely not alone in my devotion. "There is a certain swagger about Italian men that strikes the right balance between arrogant and insecure, manly and boyish, and -- best of all -- sexy and silly," says Melissa Walker, 26, of Brooklyn, New York. Even the world's most beautiful women have discovered their seductive masculinity. Linda Evangelista is linked with oil magnate Ugo Brachetti Peretti, Heidi Klum is seeing Formula 1 capo Flavio Briatore and Naomi Campbell is canoodling with fashion mogul Matteo Marzotto. Just what is the appeal? Here, five traits -- as if you needed all five -- that will have you pining for a paesano:

    An Italian man's face tells his life story. I recently stood inches away from Juventus soccer star Marco Di Vaio and his coach Marcello Lippi. Just off summer vacation, Di Vaio's smooth, bronzed skin was glowing with the flush of youth. His sparkling eyes displayed the promise of one whose greatness is on the brink of arrival. In contrast, the more mature Lippi with his perfectly coifed silver mane spoke of maturity and confidence and grace with his expressions alone. Every line, every crease was elegant and revealed a lifetime's worth of knowledge. The distinction between Di Vaio and Lippi was clear, but the allure was exactly the same: A look from either and you were sure that you were the only woman he could see. Those faces will be etched in my memory like favorite books -- one reading and you get a whole new perspective on the world. "When it comes to Italian men, from Adriano Giannini (Giancarlo's son) to James Gandolfini to Silvio Berlusconi, it's good looks, style, guts, sense of humor, appetite, and arrogance that I love," says Elizabeth Primamore, a writer in Manhattan. The bottom line: Young or grown, Italian men are simply sexy!

    An Italian man flirts like other men breathe -- regularly and naturally. From the days of Casanova, Italians have had a reputation for charming women the world over and they never rely on looks alone. "They're sultry, suave and know how to flirt. American guys don't flirt, they tend to go the opposite route, and turn rudeness into some sort of come-on scheme," says 24-year-old Adelia Mazzella, who is half Filipino and half Italian. "Also, Italians are funny and love life." And the boys are smart to boot. According to the Italian website Zoomata, in a recent magazine survey of more than 1,000 Italian men, 68 percent reported carrying a book to the beach to encourage conversation with women. About 80 percent of those men toted The Bible or Dante's Divine Comedy -- hardly lightweight reading material. No doubt that their pick-up lines are more poetic! The lesson for other men reading this is that to be truly successful with women, you have to use all of your natural resources. All of them.

    An Italian man appreciates family. Women are mothers, which is why we often find ourselves looking for a guy who wants to take care of his parents when they are aged and is good with kids. Look no further than the Boot, ladies. Italian men have taken some heat, especially lately, for being too close to mamma, but this is not the liability that the media is making it out to be. On the contrary, having a devotion to one's family -- mamma and all -- usually indicates strength of character. "[Italian men have] great family values, which typically shine through in how they treat people, whether it's me, their family, friends, or even strangers," says 25-year-old Lisa Rogers of Manhattan. A guy who embraces his own relatives (and has the potential to fall in love with your family) is becoming rarer and rarer in these post-post-modern times. But Italian men are still hanging onto the idea that blood counts for something, that life is best spent around a big table eating and talking and celebrating with those who brought you into the world. A man who still values family is to be valued himself.

    An Italian man is an unforgettable lover. My sister Rosaria Concetta Di Meglio, 19, of Washington D.C. says that women are attracted to Italian men because they are confident and rumored to be wild in the sack. If potency is any indication, then maybe little sis is right. According to Zoomata, 12 percent of Italian men have had erectile problems, compared to 35 percent of Brits and 42 percent of French. In addition, Italian men worship the female form and pay attention to details -- from sweetly caressing your cheek in a passionate moment to playfully twisting your hair on the beach. I bet reality is even better than the fantasy. But there is one catch. To love an Italian man is to love a man who is coveted by all your girlfriends and then some. "I love Italian guys looks-wise, though the thought of actually dating one is sort of scary," admits 100-percent Italian Alyssa Vitrano. "I'd have to find an exception to the stereotype of a womanizing, not-that-into-fidelity guy." I have to believe there are good ones still out there - and what a good time he would show you!

    An Italian man loves women -- all sorts of women in all shapes and sizes, of all races and creeds. And there's nothing sexier than a man who wants you as much as you want him. My cousin Michele Blaso, 41 years old and married to an Italian man, says that Italian men "are strong willed and always strive for more." That ambition surfaces even at the very start of a romance. He'll continuously work hard to improve himself and to let the object of his affection know that she is the one. When an Italian man meets a woman for the first time, he discovers her greatest attribute -- her smile or her generosity or her long legs -- and applauds it as though he was the first to do so. He makes a woman feel as though she is special and full of potential just in the way he looks at her. The reflection she will see of herself in his eyes will leave her full of desire and breathless with anticipation. An Italian man always gets the girl because he makes her fall in love with him as much as he makes her fall in love with herself. That's the secret!

    What do you think of Italian men? I want to hear from you. Tell me about it by sending me an Email.

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