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    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    Italians didn't earn the title of Latin lovers for nothing. They are arguably the kings of seduction. Men and women alike know how to flirt and how to get the object of their affection to believe they are the greatest discovery since sliced bread.

    And they ooze passion. Seriously, they sweat the stuff. And I should know. I'm the child of Italians and I married a full-fledged native. It's the way they walk, their motivation to always make a bella figura (a good impression), and did I mention how good-looking they are? An absurdly large number of them really are gorgeous. Just take a gander at the Italian national soccer team that won the World Cup in 2006. And do I even have to mention Sofia Loren? Um, hello, she's still among the world's favorite pin-up girls and she's well into her nonna years.

    So, Italians are the perfect people to look to for inspiration come Valentine's Day, what is meant to be the holiday for lovers. Here's how you can celebrate Italian-style:

    Fly to Roma

    If you can afford it, take your baby to Italy to see the sites and take in the grand history, trace your roots (if your heritage is Italian), sample the delicious foods (every region has its specialties), and relax in one of the world's most beautiful countries. The winter months usually mean discounts on air travel, hotels, and the like, which is why it's usually cheaper than when the high season kicks in at Easter. And there are usually fewer crowds, especially when compared to Easter or August, when all the Italians are themselves on vacation. Just be sure to pinch your lover's culo en route to the Colosseum. After all, you want your Valentine to get the complete Italian experience.

    Speak in the Language of Lovers

    The soft sounds of words ending in vowels are pure poetry. If you're fluent, just whisper some Italian words into your beloved's ear. Even something as mundane as your grocery list "latte, pane, acqua" – sounds better in Italian. If you're not fluent, you can simply look up a few romantic phrases. All your really need to know is that "Ti amo" means "I love you." Others that might come in handy are, "Ho bisogno di te" ("I need you"), "Sei la mia vita" ("You are my life"), and "Sei bellissima/bellissimo" ("You are beautiful/You are handsome"). Those who are timid could write these phrases on a card, but it won't carry the same punch as hearing the words out loud.

    Cook Up Some Delicious Love

    Italians are born foodies. This is not a hobby that some people pick up. It's a way of life for everyone pretty much. Not only do they eat well (we all have heard the benefits of moderation and the Mediterranean diet), but they also tend to cook. While women usually rule the kitchen, at least in southern Italy, men get in on the act, too. Rendezvous at the stove, come up with an authentically Italian menu replete with antipasto, primo, secondo e dolce, and get to cookin' together. Be sure to set a nice table and light the candles before you dig into your meal. Pour some good vino and savor every bite. Trust me, by the time dessert rolls around, you'll be making out like teenagers on the couch. Now, that's amore Italian style!

    Di Meglio is the author of Fun with the Family New Jersey (Globe Pequot Press Travel, 2012) and you can follow her life and work at the Two Worlds Web site.


    Article Published 1/09/14

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