One woman’s romantic journey is proof that love can be found in the most unexpected places at the most unexpected times.
Frances Alban, after being disillusioned with the dating scene in her hometown of Miami, decided to take a break from romance in order to pursue the things she loved.
“After a few heartbreaks and pushing 40, I decided to get off the rollercoaster and focus on me,” Alban told Travel + Leisure. “My desire was to be independently happy, and not allow my happiness to be contingent on anything or anyone else ... I rediscovered old hobbies and got comfortable being alone, my achilles heel. Decided I wanted to begin scratching off, one-by-one, my travel bucket list items, even if it meant I had to see these places solo.”
Alban booked a trip to Sicily, and invited her friends — one of whom found an Airbnb for the trip. That’s where Alban met Roberto.
In the house listed on Airbnb in Cefalù, Italy, Alban met the house’s owner, Roberto Tomasello, who is an architect. Tomasello welcomed Alban and her friends to the house and showed them around the property, with views of the water.
“Everyone was snapping pictures of the view, and I took a pic of Roberto,” Alban told USA Today. And the feeling of attraction was mutual.
After texting with Alban a few times over the next couple of days during her stay, Tomasello came back to the house to check the women out of the Airbnb. While it seemed like their flirtation would end, Tomasello had a surprised Alban with a proposition to continue their relationship.
“He said ‘I know this sounds crazy, but you are a fantastic girl and I would love to get to know you,’” Alban said.
“After the trip concluded we WhatsApp’d, every single day, and made visits to see each other,” Alban told T+L. “On my last trip to Italy, in October, the fairy tale continued. I flew into Palermo (where he lives), and then we headed to Venice for his friend's wedding at an old Palace. It was magical. I came back to Miami, engaged.”
“Completely in awe of how wonderfully surprising life can be,” Alban said.
Note: This story has been updated with details from Alban.