Solo female travellers, if you’re looking for a little romance, a dancing partner or just some company for the evening, go to Florence!
Despite being very much not interested in dating of any kind right now, Florence had me seriously tempted. After getting off the long train from Rome, looking particularly unglamorous, I dumped my backpack and headed out in search of food…and came back with two phone numbers, three invitations to meet for drinks and two offers to go clubbing the following night, should I feel like dancing. Whilst I might not have taken any of them up on the offers, there were some seriously good looking men, apparently single and dateless on a Friday night.
And it wasn’t just me. Florence must be the unofficial city of love – it is literally everywhere. Couples making out in the street (a man actually stopped walking right in front me, grabbed his wife/girlfriend and threw her backwards for a Hollywood style kiss!) smooching in restaurants, strolling hand in hand through the parks or over the pontes – love is everywhere!
For someone who recently came out of a long-term relationship, you might have thought that I wouldn’t feel comfortable with so much love and affection all around, but it turned out, it actually restored my faith in the possibility of real romance slightly.
I started with a glass of wine at a small bar right next to the Duomo, where I’d attempted to sit outside but it had started to rain. After I moved inside, I got chatting to a waiter called Jon, who offered to teach me Italian and take me dancing. I took his phone number and he told me to send him a message if I wanted to go out either that night or the following evening. After finishing my wine and promising to get in touch (sorry Jon!) I headed for Piazza della Repubblica- where I met a rather beautiful Italian man called Fabio (of course) who was working as a PR outside one of the restaurants. I decided to have some dinner there and every time I looked up from my (also good looking food), he would catch my eye from outside and then look away.
When I was leaving, his rather cocky co-worker asked me out, giving me his pre-written phone number on a card (it’s safe to say, that one was a pro with the ladies!) and Fabio casually mentioned the bar he would be in later. I told them I’d been travelling all day and that I’d maybe give them a call and see about the following night.
On the way back to the guest house I was staying at, I noticed two well dressed, good looking young Italians that were having some sort of altercation with an elderly man…apparently over a badly parked bike (my Italian is a bit iffy but that seemed to be the gist…)
As they walked off, they spotted me behind them and started chatting (and swearing, that part I got thanks to my lesson in Italian cursing from a hostel buddie in Naples) about what had happened. It turned out they were heading to the bar right outside where I was staying. They asked me to have a drink with them and said they were going to a club after. I politely explained that I wasn’t really dressed for clubbing but maybe I would come down later on.
Back in my room I considered the invitations…and then a couple of things hit me. Firstly, I hadn’t really packed anything for a night out in November. My backpack, which was full of summery clothes, bikinis and Bali-ready wear, included a pair of trainers, some flip flops and a pair of hiking boots…what the hell would I put on my feet?! Secondly, as much as I was tempted by a night of drinking and dancing, I was exhausted…and had already planned an early night to get up early for a full day of sightseeing and wandering the following morning.
I decided to pass on a Friday night of romance, but if I’m ever looking for a holiday fling…I’ll know exactly where to go…