by Nicole Martinelli It’s tough being a young Italian in love: there’s just no privacy. Ask the 90 percent of Italians between the ages of 20 and 24 who still live at home. As a result, Italians will do it anywhere, especially in the car.
But while surveys say 88 percent of Italians have car-copulated at least once, back-seat sex has continued to come under fire from officials.
In 1999, one Italian court even ruled that unless the car windows are covered up it can be considered an obscene act. (Italy’s sexier streets and parking lots have since seen a huge rise in ad hoc entrepreneurs selling newspapers to drape over the windshield.)
Finally, it seems some local governments are coming around, too. The town of Vinci in Tuscany has just become home to Italy’s first “Love Park.” The town’s mayor, Giancarlo Faenzi, appropriately announced the plans on Valentine’s Day 2003 but in true Italian fashion only managed to get things ready for the summer lovin’ season.
“There’s nothing revolutionary here,” mayor Faenzi told zoomata. “It’s a practical consideration, we’re simply trying to keep in mind the way the space is used. This is the city of Leonardo da Vinci’s birthplace, after all. We are very rational — there’s no point moralizing or trying to discourage people simply looking for privacy.”
Whether Italians will flock to the park is another question. Call it the Love Park, but it’s basically a re-furbed sports-center parking lot on the outskirts of town. That’s 172 (compact) parking spaces for the amorous, with soft lighting, extra trash cans within easy reach, flower pots and condom dispensers for a love haven away from home.
Still, Italians may come to appreciate their new getaway when they remember the alternatives: either the local polizia looking over their shoulder as they sneak their lover a kiss, or Mama watching every move as she makes more manicotti.
Vinci isn’t the first Italian city where proposals to legitimize these alcoves for lovers have been bandied about, but this is the first time local government has given it the green light. Making official this basic necessity may also help improve safety — smooching couples are regularly prey to robberies or worse, as in the still unsolved murders of nine young couples parked in lover’s lanes in the Monster of Florence case. This story first appeared in Newsweek.