Milan. Rome. Naples.

And I’m not talking soccer, people.

Two weekends ago we had a ponte. One of the many perks of living in Italy. Tuesday was a holiday, so they take Monday off as well, thus making a bridge, or a ponte. Who would ever wanna leave here with such great inventions as these?

I went to Rome and Naples for the ponte to visit some friends and essentially eat everything I could get my little mitts on.

After I got to Rome and dropped my stuff at a friend’s apartment, I just wandered around for a bit until I got to Piazza Navona and then stopped to sit for a few minutes.

Lone American girl on a bench….a few seconds was all it took for the circling vultures to make a landing. A waiter from one of the restaurants in the Piazza ran over to me saying:

Excuse me, did you hear about the special we’re having at the restaurant today? But it’s only for beautiful women.

Yea…. I’M IN ROME.

There’s something that magically happens on that three hour train ride from Milan to Rome. Frecciarossa transports you to this magical land: The Italian capital, center of catholicism and the delicious supplì and home to some wonderfully aggressive Italian men.

If you’ve never been to Rome but are now second guessing it, don’t. GO. Because, did I mention, the men are beautiful? And let me tell you, after two days in Rome, I feel like a whole new woman. If my self confidence was at all wavering, it has now been restored.

If you’re feeling unappreciated. Go to Rome.

If you’re feeling ugly. Go to Rome.

If you’re feeling down on your luck in love. Go to Rome.

If you’re going through a break up. Go to Rome.

If you’re contemplating a break up, well….shit, just put the nail in the coffin and go to Rome.

Here you will find Carbonara, ancient ruins, unmatchable beauty and a potential husband.

THAT’S what all the travel brochures about Rome should include.

And all this commences upon your exit from the Termini Train Station. The guys start opening fire:

Bellissima!

Complimenti!

And my personal favorite …..

Grazie!

Grazie for what? My beauty? For walking by you?

But in all honesty, do I care? Nope.

Remember that iconic image of the American Girl in Italy?

american girl in italy

THIS WILL BE YOU.

Enjoy it. Cherish it. Soak it all in.

And don’t be surprised if the debonair Roman charm starts to wear off on you. I can’t tell you how many times I craned my neck at the police cars slowly rolling by. It’s so clichè but I was literally a kid in a candy shop. A frisky one at that. I just imagined myself as a giant human snow plow scooping up every good looking guy in my wake.

My friend Karoliina (who embarked on this southern adventure with me), claims that the outrageously handsome police officers in Rome are part of the tourist attraction. I think she may be right.

Though, side note, they are closely rivaled by the Portuguese police officers. My good friend and fellow travel buddy Lauren, from Seegs Travels, can attest, after we spent a few days touring Lagos and drooling over this:

Portuguese Police

and this:

Portuguese Police

I distinctly remember his hand on my butt while we were taking this picture.

Inappropriate? Maybe. Did I mind? Not at all.

Rome brings a variety of characters together from all over the boot. I had a quick run-in with the Calabrese Brigade: Cousins Gaetano and Gaetano, Vincenzo and Michele from Calabria, all studying in Rome. If you’re hanging out anywhere near Campo dei Fiori, it’s virtually a hunting ground. Just sit around speaking English and wait for them to pounce. The Calabrese Crew were characters….especially when little Vincenzo with the tiny mustache ordered a shirley temple.

The bartender just shook his head and said:

Hey man, I lived for a short time in the States. And I can tell you if you ordered a shirley temple in America, you would never get laid.

True story, Vincenzo, true story.

I wish I had a picture to show you, I even thought about it for the sake of the blog because I like to provide you with visuals for my stories. But at the mere mention of a photo they all scattered like ants.

It can only mean one thing: girlfriends. Nobody wants to suffer the wrath of some hot-blooded Calabrese woman. Gives me the chills just thinking about it.

I mean, Rome is just a free-for-all. Even the Airbnb guy wanted a piece of the action.

Twenty minutes after Gianluca left me the key to the apartment we were renting, I got a whats app message from him:

Hey! I thought I’d save your number just in case you want to be my tour guide in Milan some time!

To make a long story short, it now looks like I have a visitor to Milan in mid to late January.

And then, there was Naples.

Just a one hour train ride from Rome where the sun shines a little brighter and the accents get a little less clear. My “research” continued in the land of mozzarella and fried everything.

I mean, they literally had these “friggitorie” every 20 steps, little stands that give you fried what-have-yous in a paper cone. So maybe it was my fault our first night there that no guys approached us because I was sitting on the piazza steps eating a paper cone of steaming calamari with my fingers:

Naples street food

Or it could very well be that 90% of Naples was coupled up. Two hours carosuing the city and nearly two hours waiting to eat the best friggin pizza on the planet, and all we saw were guys attached to their girlfriends like leeches.

A word to the wise: watch your roaming eyes. Girls from Naples tend to be extremely adept in the death stare, especially if you’re caught sizing up their man. The whole “if looks could kill, you’d be dead” idiom probably originated among females here in Naples. It must also be noted here that women from the south of Italy are a bit more “passionate” than other areas of the country. Though the differing levels of female crazy (excuse me, passion), from one southern region to the next should have it’s own blog post dedicated to it.

If you’re born in Naples and never manage to get out, it’s a place where you start dating at 14 and just stay together. Forever. We were walking down a side street when a little motorino pulled up on the side walk with two 13 year olds on the back. One of them yelled to a girl behind us:

Linda! Vieni qua!

And that’s  most likely how it happens. Linda comes running, and they ride off 3 on a motorino (total Naples-style) into the sunset, one day get married, have babies and grow old together.

So, naturally, we took to Tinder for a night out with the locals, and found ourselves quite the duo. As far as Tinder dates go, they were friendly and quite handsome. Though neither one seemed like long term boyfriend material for either one of us. One had a budding, old school romance with a girl from a neighboring town and seemed to already be on the marriage track, while the other works on a cruise ship and has never had a girlfriend because “it’s easier with his job.” Translation: he wants to sleep with everything from Naples to Morocco.

Although from what I saw in Naples, it seems you have to speak up if you want anything there. We sat in restaurants for a good twenty minutes before anybody even paid attention to us. If you’re not flagging waiters down and making overt hand gestures, you’ll never eat. As the old adage goes, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Maybe that’s also true for snagging a guy here in Naples. BOH.

My findings in Naples proved inconclusive, which just tells me I need to spend more time in Naples.

And so we headed back to Milan.

Ugh. Like waking up for work on Monday.

Like going from prime rib to McDonalds chicken McNuggets.

No complimenti, no sexy and indecipherable accents.

Just a bunch of guys greeting you with a nasally “weila”….if they even notice you.

Basically….a bunch of tough nuts to crack.

So I guess until I can get to Rome again, I’ll just get to crackin’!