They might be known as Italian stallions thanks to the exploits of national figures such as Rudolph Valentino, but new data on cosmetic surgery suggests men in Italy are less sure of themselves than we imagined.
One of Italy's top clinics specialising in penis enlargement has revealed that the number of men seeking surgical assistance is rising by 25pc every year.
Diminutive leaders such as Mussolini and Berlusconi might have helped create a reputation for gargantuan sexual appetites. But many Italians are admitting they might need help, after all, said Dr Alessandro Littara, director of the Centre for Sexual Medicine in Milan. "In the past year alone, we did 300 operations on men. It's usually to make the penis thicker, but there are quite a few who want it longer and sometimes both," he said.
He said the average age of patients was from 30 to 50. "This isn't because younger men don't feel at a disadvantage. It's just that older blokes are more likely to afford the operation."
The cost ranges from £2,500 (€2,900) to £6,000 (€7,600). (© Independent News Service)