Maura Higgins confirms romance with Giovanni Pernice as she shares picture holding his hand

MAURA Higgins has confirmed her romance with Strictly Come Dancing star Giovanni Pernice with a snap of them together.

The Love Island star took to her Instagram stories to snap the couple holding hands while enjoying a swanky dinner with her new beau.

Maura, 30, who was spotted in Blackpool last week alongside Giovanni, 30, has confirmed reports that the two were at the start of a romance.

The reality star has gone Instagram official with the dancer, as she shared a photograph of them holding hands over dinner on Wednesday evening.

New couple Maura and Giovanni looked to have tucked into a delicious dessert and enjoyed a bottle of red wine on the romantic date.

She shared the snap to her Instagram stories, which failed to show their faces, and focused instead on their two hands.

The couple were seen together for the first time last week, when they enjoyed a night out in Blackpool after Giovanni's dance show.

Maura snuggled up to her new beau after he came off stage at the Him & Me show, which also features Strictly star Anton Du Beke, 54.

An onlooker said: “They looked totally smitten with each other. They were being very touchy-feely and had a smooch on the dance floor."

Previous hook-ups included watching an Italy Euro 2020 match at Wembley, and taking a short romantic holiday break in Cornwall last month.

Giovanni is said to be "smitten" with Maura, and "moving fast" as they spend a lot of time together at events across the country.

A source told the MailOnline: "Gio and Maura are very much a couple. Everyone know he's played the field in the past but he is serious about Maura.

"He's smitten with her, they've become close really quickly and are spending a lot of time together in Blackpool."

It comes days after it was revealed that Maura and Giovanni are in the early stages of a relationship after the pair were spotted together.

She is said to be taking her romance with the Strictly Come Dancing star "slowly" because she's "worried he could be a player".

Following her split from Chris Taylor, Maura isn't looking for anything serious, according to reports.

An insider told OK! magazine: "Giovanni is smitten. He always fancied her and slid into her DMs. It's very early days."

The source added: "Maura is enjoying the attention and she thinks he's so hot. He's really charming, but she is a little worried he might be a player."

"She doesn't want to get hurt, so she's taking it slow. She's enjoying single life so won't rush into anything," they concluded of their romance.

The pair are both no strangers to high-profile relationships – with Maura having dated Love Island co-stars Chris Taylor and Curtis Pritchard.

Giovanni meanwhile has exes including include former Corrie actress Georgia May Foote, Towie star Jessica Wright and Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts.

We told how Maura and Giovanni had again sparked romance rumours after they both shared photos from Italy's 2-1 win over Austria on Saturday.

Earlier this month, the Irish beauty and the Italian dancer were allegedly spotted by fans at the same hotel in Cornwall.

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