Portrait of Giacomo Casanova
Portrait of Giacomo Casanova (WikiCommons)

Sara is a 30-year old Italian copy editor, with a partner of the same age, and life is a struggle. Like so many of her generation, she is earning less than when she started, in 2009, when she got €1,200 (£1,000) a month.

Then, she did not feel old. A promising life of success and satisfaction beckoned after years of hard study.

Her contract, with the same publishing house, runs out in February. Under it, Sara is forced to work from home, doing two part-time jobs at €400 a month each.

"I stopped growing," she wrote in a letter to her former university professor, Giovanna Cosenza. "I'm not talking only about career advancement but also of the fact that I stopped learning.

"I stay all day in front of my computer writing texts that nobody will read, knowing that I'm the only one who's interested in the quality of my work."

At 31, Sara (not her real name) says she feels "terribly old".

"We have surrendered. When the present ceased to be a preparation for the future, then we surrendered and became old," she says.

It is in the light of Sara's experience - and that of tens of thousands of young Italians like her - that a BBC article entitled "Italy's Casanova hit where it hurts" is lazy and insulting journalism.

Tired clichés

Emma Kirby, the author of the article, lightly recounts a risque conversation between two Milanese businessmen who could not afford to maintain their mistresses because of the economic crisis.

It presents a stereotypical image of Italian Casanovas suffering downsized social status, from the "modest single scoop of chocolate ice cream" to the fact that the "traditional kept mistress, secretly hidden away in her fully paid-up flat and lavished with furs and jewels" is long gone.

"The day of Casanova is over. One woman only - and that's already too expensive," says one of the two businessmen.

For the insightful Kirby, the economic crisis has hit Italian men "where it hurts most".

One of the "largely unreported" consequences of the financial downturn, she says, is "the struggle some Italian men now face to woo women with the care and attention".

The struggle reaches its depth of despair when Roberta Ribali, a psychiatrist who specialises in men's sexual problems, says that for the older Italian man "this sudden lack of money is a tragedy".

Who is to blame?

Regurgitating a series of tired clichés about Italian Casanovas may seem an innocuous exercise to many British readers. But the flawed connection between it and the real impact of the economic crisis makes it not only silly, but enraging.

A whole generation has been robbed of its future, with no capacity to grow professionally or learn new skills, unable to marry or buy a house or set up a family. A 30-year old woman feels old, worn-out, frustrated - and yet unable to revolt.

"Who is to blame?" asks Sara. "Those who raised us repeating that we were special and would have kicked asses in the world? Those who trained us with the conviction that combining technique, ability and discipline we could have gone anywhere? Or is it our fault?"

These cries of despair require and deserve serious insight, investigation, data, reports, interviews and a journalistic style that doesn't fall on clichés like the "Latin lover has had to rein in his appetite" or "Casanova has dispensed with the flowery niceties of wining and dining and is cutting far more quickly to the chase".

This is the standard everyone expects from the BBC - not a jumble of hackneyed sentences wheeled out to convey a "humorous" vision of Italy.

Note: Historical Casanova was not a systematic philanderer. He was never married and he never resorted to paying for sex.

Italian Gianluca Mezzofiore, an IBTimes UK foreign correspondent, was born in Bologna where he grew up. He has been living in london for three years