The Male of the Species

Those over a certain age might fondly recall Rossano Brazzi in Three Coins in a Fountain. A younger generation would more likely conjure up Raoul Bova in Under the Tuscan Sun, and an even younger set might avidly fantasize over Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue Eau Intense ads.

What are we talking about here? Nothing less than the irrepressible allure of the quintessential Italian man, that species of male that is effortlessly debonair, lithe, dark-haired and olive-skinned, with an innate masculine grace and gentlemanly elegance, oozing a certain refinement mixed with something more primal, a man whose tanned feet favour leather sandals over flip-flops, who keeps cool and casual in ankle-baring linen pedal pushers rather than Bermuda shorts, who understands the power of a sports jacket with an open-necked shirt. He rides that fine, sexy line between well-groomed and mussed up, is lightly fragranced and fit, and his gaze can border on sullen yet speaks volumes.

Examples of the species can be seen ambling in twos and threes from the office to the bar for their mid-morning coffee break. They can be spotted gesticulating wildly into their cellphones or zigzagging stuntman-style through rush hour traffic on their motorbikes. On early summer mornings FILFs in suits and ties cycle past leisurely, smiling indulgently at an adorable child in the bicycle seat before them — a picture postcard moment on the way to school and office. Out with friends (always large, mixed groups) they’re boisterous and physical in their affections. They embody the perfect balance of self-assurance, gregariousness and virility, with a palpable love of beauty, family, food and all the sensorial delights life has to offer.

Such is the Italian man.