Heartthrobs of Italy's Past and Present

Romance Rome

In a Land of Passion and Beauty, Romance is King

Italy is the land of senses: rich in sumptuous architecture, bountiful meals, soul-felt music and heavenly art. It is run by passion, overflowing with gusto for life, beauty and love. From Puccini’s operas to dreamy canals of Venice, to Italy’s favorite chocolate (Baci, which translate as kisses), there’s one theme that strings the nation together: romance. Blame it on the influence of Mediterranean culture or the dreamy landscape, but there’s no denying that many Italians seem to have romance written in their DNA. These Latin lovers not only love women, but are admired by le donne as well. Here’s a list of some of the most illustrious men in Italy’s romantic history.



This Venetian eighteenth century playboy had it all- dashing looks, suave style, friends in high places (Russia’s Catherine the Great and Voltaire) and a sharp intellect (he even published mathematical treaties!). His life was anything but dull. A stream of random jobs as a priest, musician, writer and Inquisition spy brought this eighteenth century heartthrob traveling across Europe, with long sojourns in Spain, Paris, Czech Republic and Russia – an amazing feat for someone of his time! However, let’s face the facts, Casanova’s fame lives on thanks to his autobiography that secured his reputation as the ultimate lover of women. His saucy escapades and encounters with over 130 women are chronicled in shocking detail throughout 12 volumes of his life story. In fact, the first uncensored version of this spicy tale emerged in 1960. Since then, the public’s interest has only grown and Casanova’s amorous adventures have become immortalized.




Although Shakespeare’s famed "star-crossed lovers’ may have had fate working against them, Romeo’s labors to be with his precious Juliet epitomize true, passionate young love.  Even centuries later, Romeo’s sweet and sensuous poetry still melts the hearts of readers. Granted, Mr. Montague is only a work of fiction, written by a Brit; but there’s something Shakespeare must’ve known about Italians to choose sweet Verona as the setting of this tragedy. Perhaps, he knew Italians have romance in their blood.


Rudolph Valentino

The title "Latin lover" stems back to the silent-film heartthrob of the early twentieth century. Born in Puglia, Italy, Rudolph Valentino made his way to Los Angeles and New York City to reach stardom in cinema. His dark appearance, dandy-style, distinctive slicked-back hair (the style was named Vaselino) and sensuous nature, set him apart from his clean-cut American counterparts, helping him build his sex-symbol status and women fandom. 


Marcello Mastroianni

Post-war cinema saw the rise of Marcello Mastroianni, an actor with irresistible charm and physical beauty.  Mastroianni rose to success in his early films with Fellini, starting as the sultry womanizer Marcello Rubini in La Dolce Vita and in 8 ½. His character was the quintessence of cool, always shaded with a pair of the slickest sunglasses and a perfectly tailored suit. He also starred alongside the beautiful Sofia Loren in both Marriage Italian-Style and Divorce Italian-Style where the stereotype of a womanizing Italian is perpetuated thanks to the character’s lust for women. His most famous legacy is the scene where he enters the Fountain of Trevi in Rome with the blonde bombshell Anita Ekberg.  Their kiss in the large fountain not only made cinematic history, but constituted every starry-eyed girl’s romantic dream while in Rome. Other notable Italians sweethearts of the silver screen include Vittorio Gassmann - actor, director and screenwriter – and Rossano Brazzi who starred opposite of Katherine Hepburn in Summertime and in Rogers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific.

Mariano di Vaio

Mariano is Italy’s latest heartthrob who has stolen hearts of thousands women through this age’s biggest innovation: the Internet and Social Media. This Milan-based style-blogger and Instagramer turned model has thousands of admirers that follow his every-step. Many girls consider Mariano the modern-day Valentino: perpetually impeccably dressed, perfectly bronzed and always sporting incredible hair. Not convinced? Just look at how many youtube tutorials demonstrate how to achieve his hair’s perfect ciuffo or check out his every-growing amount of followers online. In an age of interconnectedness and technology, di Vaio brings home the prize as Italy’s hottest beauty.


Photos thanks to: