If you’re planning a first date in Italy you might be tempted to book a hot air balloon ride over Florence, hire a Gondola for a private tour of Venice or go to the opera at the Teatro alla Scala. But sometimes less really is more!
Although Italians are definitely flamboyant and passionate, when it comes to dating they tend to take things slowly and start out by getting to know each other on a personal level. This means that not only could you scare an Italian off by ‘trying too hard’ but the activity itself could also get in the way of actually getting to know each other.
That’s why, despite being surrounded by some of the most famously romantic tourist sites in the world, your first date in Italy should still be down to earth and give you plenty of opportunity to have a chat and properly get to know your potential suitor.
So if you’re fretting about what to do on your first date in Italy, then fear not! We’ve compiled a useful list of realistic things that everyday Italians do on a first date.
Traditional First Date Ideas.
Meet Up For A Coffee And A Cake – If you’re looking for a simple, tried-and-tested idea for your first date in Italy, why not meet up in a local cafe for a cup of coffee and cake? It’s a great way to get to know each other in a casual environment and you can break the ice while selecting a cake from the counter.
This is a good option if you’re a little unsure about whether or not you’ll hit it off. If things don’t go to plan you can politely say goodbye once you’ve finished your coffee but if things go well then you can have a walk or go somewhere else to continue your date!
Book A Table At A Candlelit Restaurant -This is a classic option for a first date and is perfect if you want to show that you’re looking for something a little more serious. There’s always lots to talk about while you peruse the menu and having a glass of wine will help to loosen your inhibitions and get the conversation flowing.
Of course, you will be faced with the age-old question of who should pay the bill at the end of the meal! The best thing to do is to play it by ear but always be prepared to pay your own way. If you’re a male, it’s traditional in Italy to cover the bill on a first date but times are changing and so the woman may want to pay her own half.
Aperitivo – The Perfect Middle Ground – Not quite a meal in a restaurant, but a little more than just a drink in a bar, the Aperitivo is a fantastic way to get to know someone on a first date. Aperitivo is an Italian tradition that began in Milan and consists of cocktails, or other drinks, and an all-you-can-eat buffet meal at a bar, hotel or casual dining restaurant.
The prices of an Aperitivo are extremely affordable, often as little as 15 Euros per head, and the atmosphere is super relaxed. There’s sometimes live music in the establishment and during the summer you can sit outside and watch the world go by as you snack on your food, toast your drinks and get to know each other in a no-pressure situation.
Active First Date Ideas.
Take A Walk To A Local Beauty Spot – A lovely idea for your first date in Italy is to meet up and walk to a local beauty spot. Every town and city in Italy is packed with excellent scenery and magnificent walks so you’ll be spoiled for choice when deciding where to go. So if you’re by the seaside, then you can walk along the beach but if you’re in Florence, why not head up to the Piazza Michelangelo to watch the sunset together?
Book A Dance Class – This is certainly not suitable for everyone, but if you’re both very outgoing people then a dance class is great fun and will quickly let you know if there’s any chemistry between you. Just remember, if you suspect that your date is a bit of an introvert, this might be a terrible plan!
Go Ice Skating – During the winter months, many of Italy’s cities host open-air ice rinks that are surrounded by eateries, pop-up stalls and street vendors. You can have a romantic evening skating around the rink before having a bite to eat, drinking some spiced wine and wandering through the Christmas lights after dark.
Cultural First Date Ideas.
Visit An Exhibition At A Local Gallery Or Museum – Italy is a real treasure trove of world-class galleries and museums that house some of the finest artworks on the planet. So, if your date is something of a culture vulture, then there’s no better way to make a good impression than to arrange a visit to a local gallery or museum. It’s always worth checking to see if any of the galleries or museums are hosting a really special one-off exhibition but otherwise, you can both enjoy exploring the permanent exhibitions together.
See A Concert, Watch A Play Or Go To The Cinema – It’s always attractive to support the performing arts and will show your date that there’s more to you than meets the eye. If you are planning to buy tickets for an event it’s probably worth checking with your date in advance what kind of things they like – unless you really want to take a chance and surprise them! During the interval, you can have a few drinks and chat and afterward, you can stroll through the town piazzas recounting your night together.
Book A Wine Tasting Experience – An interesting twist on a standard evening in a wine bar, a wine-tasting experience will let you try a whole range of wines while getting to know each other between sips. Local breweries, wineries and hotels host frequent wine tasting evenings and if things are looking good you can head onward into the night to have dinner at a restaurant.
Quirky First Date Ideas.
Have a Picnic – Pack your hamper with some delicious bread, cold meats, cheese, cut fruits and finger snacks, and head off for a picnic together. This is definitely a sunny weather option, but there are always lots of places you can go. For instance, settle down on a rug in a park, find a quiet cove on the beach or sit in a local piazza and watch the world go by as you share your food. And if you really want to make a good impression, don’t forget to pack a bottle of champagne!
Visit The Local Zoo – There’s nothing quite like visiting the local zoo to watch the funny antics of the animals and get a big dose of cuteness at the same time. While you’re at the zoo you can stop by the cafe or restaurant to have a bite to eat and since you’re surrounded by unusual animals you won’t run out of conversation starters.
Go Antique Shopping – An unusual idea for your first date in Italy is to head down to the local antique market to browse the unpredictable wares on display. There’ll be plenty to talk about and you’ll learn lots about each other as you give your opinions on the random items that you find. If you’d like to make things more fun, you could even challenge each other to find the weirdest item in the market!
Unusual First Date Ideas.
Go Star Gazing – As long as the light pollution isn’t too bad in your area, star gazing is an unforgettable way to get to know someone on a first date. As you sit on a rug, sipping wine and having some snacks, the vast panorama of the night sky is sure to inspire some deep conversations. You can even get an app for your phone that tells you all the names of the constellations in the sky above you.
Volunteer Together – If you’re both civically minded, then why not volunteer together? There are lots of options such as working at a soup kitchen, joining a beach clean up or helping out a local animal rescue center. Volunteering is always a rewarding thing to do and you’ll be able to share your passion for helping others as you find out more about what makes each other tick.
Go Thrift Shopping At A Street Clothes Market – No matter whether you’re an absolute beginner or an experienced ‘thrifter’, going thrift shopping is always great fun. While thrift shops are pretty rare in Italy, every town and city has a large second-hand clothes market where you can find some amazing bargains. You never quite know what you’ll find and you can laugh and talk about some of the outrageous things that you can pick up at bargain prices.
Italy Is The Perfect For A First Date.
Even though first dates can be a little nerve-racking, you couldn’t have a better backdrop to meet your potential partner than an Italian town or city. Surrounded by awe-inspiring scenery, spoiled for choice with countless restaurants, bars and cafes, and lots of galleries and museums to visit, there are endless options for your first date together.
Of course, there are also lots of less traditional ways to get to know a date, such as star gazing, dance classes, wine tasting or exploring an antiques market together. So no matter what your ideal date scenario is, the land of the Dolce Vita offers unforgettable ways to meet your other half.