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‘In Italy I Kept Meeting Guys’: The Black Women Who Travel for Love


“You’re trying to downgrade the value of women of color when you say the only reason Italian men are attracted to them is because they are black,” Ms. Adams said. “When you’re attracted to a certain kind of person, you’re attracted to a certain kind of person.”

But Alicia Rozario, a black woman who lives in Seattle and is traveling to Milan for a month in April to decide if she wants to move permanently, said she thinks some skepticism is valid. “I’m well aware of the fact that Italians are intrigued because we’re black — there’s a little bit of exoticism with that, so you have to filter like when you date anywhere else,” she said.

Among the reasons the women said they found love more easily in Italy is that Italian culture encourages men to be up front about their emotions, something men in the United States and other countries are discouraged from doing, Ms. Adams and others said.

Three years ago, after moving to Paris with a partner, Ms. Adams found herself unhappy in her relationship, so she decided to go on a solo trip to Italy for a few days. While in Milan, she met Matteo La Cognata, a man who spent two days showing her the city. Before she left Milan for Venice and Rome, he invited her to stay for good. She thought he was “completely crazy” she said, and passed.

When she returned to Paris, she realized that she didn’t want to be there anymore. She ended her relationship and flew to Milan. She met Mr. La Cognatas family, moved in with him. They now have a 2-year-old son and are expecting their second child in the spring. The directness of Mr. La Cognata’s approach was at first perplexing, but ultimately, refreshing, Ms. Adams said.

“There isn’t a lot of hesitation, whereas in the U.S., people are always trying you out, even if they like you,” she said.

Mr. La Cognata said that although he has always been more attracted to non-Italian women, he didn’t “have any particular thought about African-American women” until he met Ms. Adams.

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