The Italian Almanac

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Raul Bova

Homegrown Stars

When it comes to movie sex symbols, Italians by far prefer the homegrown variety over the hunks and babes coming out of Hollywood, according to a new Internet study. Entitled Love and Cinema, the study quizzed some 800 people between the ages of 18 and 60 and found that domestic heartthrob Raul Bova was preferred over 'Gorgeous' George Clooney, while Monica Bellucci won out over Julia Roberts.

Bova, known for his role in Under the Tuscan Sun, along with veteran Giancarlo Giannini were the best known Italian actors cited in the poll, but even relatively unknown TV paisans like Gabriel Garko and Luca Zingaretti were considered the 'ideal man' over the likes of Leonardo Di Caprio and Brad Pitt. Bellucci, who appeared in two installments of The Matrix series, was the best known Italian actress abroad yet even domestic stars Sabrina Ferilli and Giovanna Mezzogiorno captured the imagination of those questioned over international superstars Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johanssen and Megan Fox.

The study, carried out out by the Meetic group, a leading dating website, also looked at the influence movies have had in inspiring real-life love stories and found that in 43.4% cases they had played an "important" or "significant" role in bringing couples together. This percentage rose to 59.7% among people over the age of 55. The love stories which apparently had the greatest effect on budding romances included Ghost, Pretty Woman, An Officer and a Gentleman and Dirty Dancing, as well as such classics as Casablanca and Gone With the Wind.