Melanie Sykes, 50, holds hands with Italian toyboy Riccardo Simionato, 23, after she returns to Venice to see him

MELANIE Sykes has been spotted holding hands with Italian toyboy Riccardo Simionato after returning to Venice to see him.

The presenter, 50, flew back to the Italian city this week to see her beau, 23, following the sad death of her friend and former TV co-star Des O'Connor.

Melanie was snapped kissing Riccardo last month after jetting to Italy for a weekend away with a friend.

They were later seen laughing and hugging in Campo San Toma Square as they enjoyed a whirlwind romance.

And as our new pictures show, it looks like their romance is going from strength to strength as they enjoyed being back with each other

In today's snaps, the couple can be strolling around around the famous romantic city.

Melanie sought comfort from Riccardo after it was revealed her longtime friend Dec O'Connor had died in his sleep at the weekend.

The pair were seen taking the gondola ride, then roaming Venice's famous narrow streets.

On Sunday, the mum-of-two led the tributes to the "ultimate entertainer" who passed away aged 88 after deteriorating suddenly following a fall at home.

Melanie – who hosted chat show Today With Des and Mel alongside the legendary star – shared a photograph of the pair smiling together.

She wrote on Instagram: "Des had the softest hands of anyone I ever met and the kindest of hearts.

"He had talent in every fibre of his being and was stubborn as a mule.

"He was the full ticket as a friend and colleague.

"When he chose me to be his co host on the ‘Today’ daytime show it was one the greatest days of my professional life.

"It was an education and a privilege to work with him for the years that followed.

"We worked long hours but always laughed lots, not least because when it it was showtime he would always tell me I looked like robbers dog!

" These years I will never forget and nor will I forget him.

"Darling Des you will be forever missed. Melanie x."

Melanie was previously married to actor Daniel Caltagirone – from 2001 until their divorce in 2009 – and shares kids Roman, 18, and Valentino, 16, with him.

She also wed Jack Cockings in 2013 but they split after less than a year of marriage.

When the photographs of her fling with Riccardo emerged last month, Melanie said she was "too happy to care".

Writing on Instagram, at the time she said: "Morning strumpets.

"I knew I was being stalked on my holiday but I managed to ignore it, partly because it's just what happens but mostly because I was experiencing so much joy, it was difficult to actually care.

"May you also recognise, appreciate and take those happy moments in this crazy world. love Melanie x #livethatlife."

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