Canalis is a well-known face on Italy's TV screens and is now becoming famous around the world as the woman currently linked to the 48-year-old movie star. So who is she? The model and actress is a horse-loving 30-year-old known as "Eli" to her friends, as well as a former flame of top soccer stars.
"I have now become more fussy about who I date. And in any case my future boyfriend will have to share my bed with [her mini Doberman] Piero, too," she recently told Italian magazine Tu. "Before in love I used to play much more, now I don't want to waste any more time with wrong relationships. I just want someone who can make me find tranquility. I want to get home and find a person who can make me feel good."
Canalis burst into Italian viewers' consciousness on a satirical daily news show 10 years ago. She made her first appearance on Striscia la Notizia (The News in Brief) in 1999 as one of a duo of silent showgirls who danced around and carried the news reports.
After three years on the show, Canalis moved on to co-host a weekly soccer show, acted in some TV series, including comedy called LOVE BUGS and appeared in some Italian b-movies. Canalis also went on to do three topless calendars.
And she was a roaring success. Her 2003 Max calendar was the best-seller of the season, according to an Italian publisher's stats – and, according to rumors, the cause of her breakup with her boyfriend of three years, former soccer star Christian 'Bobo' Vieri.
Vieri isn't her only footballer ex. She's also been linked to Reginaldo and another handful of players, prompting some of the media to define her as a "serial soccer star dater."
"Elisabetta is a beautiful girl full of life who embodies the Mediterranean woman: dark hair and a full figure. Elisabetta is a go-getter who is not afraid of expressing her opinion," Alfredo Rossi, a journalist and friend, tells PEOPLE. "In a few years she has built a successful TV career thanks to her determination and hard work." He adds that her biggest passions are horses and her dogs, Andrea, Piero and Vittorio, who lives at her family home in Sardinia.
And it sounds like she is ready for a longstanding relationship. On her private Facebook wall she writes, "I believe that the time has come to meet the love of my life."
Getting To Know GeorgeClooney and Canalis met for the first time last week in Rome on the rooftop terrace restaurant of the Hotel Majestic, where the actor was dining with brothers Manuele and Michele Malenotti, owners of Belstaff, which Clooney has done ads for.
The couple spent a couple of days in Rome – with Clooney staying at the Hotel de Russie, a source confirms to PEOPLE – and Canalis, who lives in Milan, was photographed leaving the hotel on a number of occasions.
The Italian weekly magazine CHI, which is due out this week, reportedly has pictures of the pair kissing and hugging. The cover of the magazine has Clooney sitting with his arm around Canalis, who smiles as she leans back on to him in a cosy embrace.
Sources in Lake Como, where Clooney has a home, have confirmed that the pair have been out and about there too. They went to "Il Gatto Nero" (one of the his favorite haunts) and were seen having a drink at Harry's Bar.
The pair were also spotted – again on Clooney's bike – in the center of Milan, where they stopped off at the Armani cafe.