One consequence of the economic downturn that has gone largely unreported is the struggle Italian men now face to woo women with the care and attention - and the financial outlay - they were once renowned for.
In the queue at the ice cream parlour the two businessmen jiggled anxiously and salivated like school boys as they stared at the myriad flavours of coloured gelato
When it came to their turn though they looked a little deflated, even a little ashamed as they asked the impatient waitress in small voices for a "gelato piccolo".
"Yeah, everything's downsized here," said the taller man ruefully, looking down at his modest single scoop of chocolate ice cream.
"No money for anything now - not even for women," he added as he licked his spoon thoughtfully. "The day of Casanova is over. One woman only - and that's already too expensive."
His colleague scraped his tub clean searching out the last drops of sorbet. He flashed me a winning smile.
"The good time's finished," he announced. And then, shrugging his shoulders, he whispered confidentially, "I'm an ex-Casanova."
The economic crisis has hit Italian men where it hurts most.