LGBTQ+ ITALY GUIDE

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Introduction

Italy is an inclusive country that has a long and rich history. It is home to ancient great homosexual personalities of the history, such as Leonardo da Vinci and Adriano the Emperor, it has great culture, great history selection and spectacular scenery. Thanks to introduction of civil unions, since 2016, Italy began to reach a level of inclusion like that of the other states of EU.

The northern and central part of the country has a very active gay scene in fact there is a wider offer for gay and lesbian travellers. Instead, the southern part of Italy offers amazing landscapes but the gay scene is still limited.

Italian cities

Milan

Milan has become one of the main cities in Italy that offers LGBTQ+ clients different choices for gay and lesbian activities, accommodations, tours, bars and clubs. It is known as the city of fashion in fact, one of the favorite activities by tourists is shopping.

The majority of gay friendly bars and clubs in Milan are mostly concentrated in the Porta Venezia neighborhood in Lecco Street and in San Martini Street. In this area, every year in June the famous Milano Pride is celebrated (a parade with more than 100.000 participants).

Moreover, throughout the city there are many gay friendly hotels, saunas, disco-clubs, venues, festivals, associations and events. In particular, in 2020, Milan will host IGLTA’s 37th Annual Global Convention from 6 to 9 May. The Convention is the world’s premier educational and networking event for LGBTQ+ tourism professionals.

The most recommended gay friendly hotels in Milan are:

  • Ibis Styles Milano Centro a 3-star hotel located in Corso Buenos Aires, just a few steps from Lima metro station. The hotel has 56 rooms and it offers a high standard with facilities.
  • Hotel Garda a 3-star hotel located just a 5 minutes walk from Milano Centrale railway station. It is the ideal place to reach every part of the city of Milan.
  • Hotel Ibis located in the center of Milan, just a few steps from Milano Centrale railway station. Soundproof and air-conditioned rooms are all equipped with free Wi-Fi.
  • Mercure Milano Solari an elegant 4-star hotel. It has 1 superior suite, 11 executive rooms and 47 standard rooms.
  • STRAF Hotel & Bar an elegant 4-star hotel situated in the city center. It has 64 rooms.

Not far from Milan, there is an innovative and gay friendly structure: Aqualux in Bardolino, on the shores of Lake Garda. The hotel is located a few minutes from the elegant town of Bardolino, just 25 km from the historical downtown of Verona. With its 17,000 square meters, it offers 125 rooms and suites, the AquaExperience with 8 pools, the AquaSpa & Wellness and the AquaFitness.

On Lake Garda, you can also visit the Catullo Grottoes in Sirmione, the Roman poet countryside residence where he spent most of his time composing his Carmi where he celebrates his love for Clodia, whose nickname in the Carmi was Saffo, in honor of the namesake poetess, and for a young boy called Giovenzio.

Otherwise, you can relax on the beach of Baia delle Sirene in Punta San Vigilio. Baia delle Sirene is one of the most beautiful beaches of Lake Garda, an exclusive private beach for a fee. Between Punta San Vigilio and the Lido of Brancolino, there is a naturist and gay beach. The beach is located 500 meters fro Baia delle Sirene Beach. It is recommended to get there early because it is often overcrowded. In the areas of Torri del Benaco there’s a nudist beach.

Rome

Rome, The Eternal City, offers a lot of option for LGBTQ+ tourism. First of all, the city is the place where the Roman Empire was established and where the Greek tradition of same-sex relationships were not condemned, nay encouraged and well accepted.

Rome encloses an extraordinary cultural heritage, especially when you will visit the Vatican Museums or the Sistine Chapel, you will discover the turbulent life of Michelangelo and the homosexual signs and gay paintings. Also in Tivoli, in the surroundings of Rome, gay life and love spread out: Villa Adriana is an amazing gay love gift by Emperor Adrian to Antinoo.

Gay nightlife is located on S. Giovanni Street, the gay street, in Laterano. The gay venues in this street, like “Coming Out”, “My Bar” or “Sugar”, offers the possibility to enjoy a cocktail or an aperitif with friends or your partner. Instead the great gay friendly clubs in Rome are: “Muccassassina”, “GIAM”, “Love Park”, “Alibi”.

The most recommended gay friendly hotels in Rome are:

  • 2ND Floor: a bed and breakfast offering neat and comfortable rooms. It is located on gay street and it’s over looking out the Colosseum.
  • Radisson Blue es. Rome Hotel fascinates visitors with its minimalistic and modern design.
  • Lord Byron a 5-star hotel, near Villa Borghese. It is a beautiful villa, furnished in art deco.

Venice

Venice, The City of Love, with its canals, is one of the most characteristic cities of Italy and the world. It encompasses culture, history, art, breathtaking landscapes and much more.

The city is another famous LGBTQ+ destination in Italy. It doesn’t have a special gay district because Venice can be considered completely gay friendly. Throughout Venice there are only a few official gay bars, like “Porto de Mar” and “I Due Girasoli *LGBTQ-Owned”.

On the Lido of Venice, there is a popular gay friendly beach: Alberoni Beach. The beach is defined as elegant, silent and economic. It is also a place for gay dating during the winter.

The most recommended gay friendly hotels in Venice are:

  • Hotel Ca dei Conti a 4-star hotel located just three minutes away from Piazza San Marco and five from Rialto. The hotel is the ideal starting point for exploring Venice and experiencing the authentic Venetian atmosphere.
  • Ca Maria Adele a 4-star hotel is located in Dorsoduro, beside the Basilica della Madonna della Salute. At just one vaporetto (a water taxi) stop from Piazza San Marco, in one of the most photographed location in the whole world. In an exceptional location, the 12 rooms of Ca Maria Adele are dedicated to those who celebrate love.
  • Hyatt Centric Murano Venice a 4-star hotel, located on Murano Island. Each of the 119 guestrooms at Hyatt Centric Murano is sophisticated, stylishly decorated and strictly linked to the local handmade glass-making art.

Turin

Turin has played an important role in the unification of Italy. It is a wonderful city and the headquarters of the seat of Savoy.

In Turin, the presence of gay movement has helped to create an opened and friendly environment in which there are many cultural events and various association activities. The city is certainly inclusive and welcoming for the LGBTQ+ community. Indeed, Turin is rich in LGBTQ+ association and services for the promotion of equal rights.

Moreover, throughout the city there are many gay friendly saunas, disco-clubs, venues, festivals, and events. Every year Turin celebrates Turin Pride and the famous “Lovers Film Festival – Torino LGBTQI Visions”, one of the most important LGBTQ+ international film festival in Europe.

The most recommended gay friendly hotels in Turin are:

  • Novotel Torino Corso Giulio Cesare a modern, elegant 4-star hotel close to the main business areas of the city and surrounded by a green park.
  • Best Western Crystal Palace Hotel Turin a 4-star hotel located in the heart of Turin. All of the hotel’s 60 rooms feature fine decorative elements and every convenience to ensure a pleasant stay.

Florence

Florence is the capital of one of Italy’s most beautiful regions, Tuscany. It is known throughout the world for its art that is the legacy of the Renaissance period.

Florence is not a big city but it offers an interesting LGBTQ+ scene thanks to the spirit of openness of the people who live there. It is not far from Arezzo and Siena where there are a lot of gay friendly accommodations and Torre del Lago, a famous LGBTQ+ destination, is an hour away by car.

Countless famous artists that have left their signature in Florence belonged to LGBTQ+ community. Therefore, it’s worth visiting the Cathedral of Florence, the collection of artwork in the Uffizi Gallery and the famous David by Michelangelo, located in the Accademia Gallery.

In Florence there are many gay friendly bars and clubs. Fabrik is a gentlemen’s club and Fairy Gold is a gentlemen’s disco. Queer Bistrot is a gay friendly bar in American style and Quelo is another gay friendly bar that offers art exhibitions.

Trattoria Cesarino” and “Ristorante Ortone” offer the typical Tuscan cuisine and a gay friendly staff.

The most recommended gay friendly hotels in Florence are:

  • Martindago a Bed and Breakfast, located near the center of Florence. It offers air-conditioned rooms, flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. Near the B&B you can find restaurants, shops and other attractions.
  • Cellai Boutique Hotel a 4-star hotel in the center of Florence. Very fashionable in fact you’ll feel like living in an elegant Florentine apartment. In its garden, during the winter, the hotel services candlelight breakfasts. Its rooms offer free Wi-Fi, air-condition and TVs.
  • Globus Urban Hotel is a 4-star hotel, located near Santa Maria Novella railway station and not far from the church of San Lorenzo. The hotel has parking. Its rooms offer free Wi-Fi and air-conditioning.

Naples

The amazing Naples and surrounding territory are all gay friendly. You could discover all the curiosities, the hidden aspect and the homosexual personalities which have made this city great in culture and art.

In the Archaeological Museum in Naples, you will see amazing collection of frescoes and statues that were excavated in Pompeii and other nearby sites. The museum has some fabulous homoerotic pieces, including the statue of Harmodius and Aristogeiton, the male-male couple who were revered as the founders of the Athenian democracy. Also you will be able to see the fascinating Gabinetto Segreto, a collection of erotic art that until the 1960s was only open to “people of mature age and respectable morals”.

Another interesting place is San Giovanni Maggiore church, a church built on the remains of an ancient pagan temple probably commissioned by Hadrianus the Emperor in honour of his beloved Antinoo; the church of Santa Maria del Carmine, where Corradino of Svevia and his cousin Federico were buried (they were probably homosexuals).

Naples offers an interesting gay nightlife. The most popular gay night in the city is “Criminal Candy” which takes place every year at Riva Club in Via Coroglio. It is an oasis of freedom where there’s no diversity between people, sexes and genders. Other famous gay night in the city are: “La Mamada” that often hosts bold and grotesque shows inspired by Italian and international trash TV and “Same The Party” that is a gay party.

The popular gay friendly bars in Naples are: Ghetto Crime Bar that is located in the center of the city in via Ferrigni and Volver Café that is famous for board games.

The most recommended gay friendly hotels in Naples are:

  • Hotel ibis Styles Napoli Garibaldi a 3-star hotel, located near Naples Central Station. The hotel belongs to the brand Accor that is full-fledged gay friendly.
  • Renaissance Naples Hotel Mediterraneo a 4-star hotel, located in the heart of Naples. It is the ideal choice for a business trip or a romantic getaway.

Bologna

Bologna is the capital of Emilia Romagna. It is a city with intense cultural life and an interesting artistic heritage. Bologna is the headquaeters of the oldest university of the Western world.

The city was the European Capital of Culture in 2000 and in 2006 was declared by UNESCO Creative City of Music.

Bologna is one of the most openness cities in Italy. So, it offers an interesting gay scene. Indeed, it has become another of the main cities in Italy that offers the LGBTQ+ clients different choices for activities, associations, bars and clubs.

First of all, Bologna is the headquarters of Arcigay, the main Italian LGBTQ+ non-for-profit organization, the largest in terms of number of volunteers and activists throughout Italy. Other associations are:

  • Agedo, an association composed of parents, relatives and friends of LGBTQ+ people who are committed to the affirmation of their rights and of the right to personal identity.
  • Famiglie Arcobaleno, an independent association composed by homosexual singles or couples that have become parents or plan to become it.
  • MIT, the identity transsexual movement.

The best gay friendly bars in Bologna are:

  • Bart a gay bar for men that want to meet freely other men. A membership card is required.
  • Il Barattolo, a gay friendly bar located in the center of Bologna.
  • Maison Glamour a gay friendly club that can create exceptional events every weekend-
  • Red a club of social promotion, committed to improve the quality of the life of LGBTQ+ people. A membership card is required.

The most recommended gay friendly hotels in Bologna:

  • Nuovo Hotel del Porto is a 3-star hotel located near Bologna Central Station. This comfortable hotel is an ideal base for those travelling through Central and Northern Italy thanks to its strategic location.
  • Mercure Bologna Centro is a 4-star hotel located in a strategic location opposite the train station, just 1.9 miles from the exhibition center and at the gateway to the historic center. The hotel has 244 rooms with all the modern comforts, 5 meeting rooms and a private park spanning 53,820 sq. ft.

Gallipoli

Gallipoli is located in Salento and is a city that has a lot to offer for LGBTQ+ scene. In 2016, the first Pride took place in the city. From that moment the interest and the opening to LGBTQ+ community has been strongly increasing.

Gallipoli is rich in gay bars and beaches. Gallipoli is known also as the “Salento gay club” and represents one of the most appreciated sea destination for gays and heterosexuals. Por do Sol beach is becoming a point of reference to LGBTQ+ community. Porto Selvaggio is a regional park on the sea that is a real nature paradise. Punta Pizzo is a protected area immersed in nature and in the wonderful white beaches of Gallipoli.

Regarding LGBTQ+ nightlife, in Gallipoli there is no “gay district” and it’s important to know local people to discover from time to time the location for LGBTQ+ parties. But LED could be a good starting point because it is a famous gay bar in the area. Otherwise, Picador Village is a big venue, suited to cruising during the night.

Sicily

Sicily is famous for the beauty of its baroque cities, very appreciated places by gay and lesbian couples. Siracusa is the homeland of Archimedes and of the Greek civilization; Catania is situated at the feet of Mount Etna, the tallest volcano in Europe; Taormina is a splendid gay friendly town with stunning views on the Mediterranean Sea and wonderful beaches.

It is possible to discover Taormina by following in the footsteps of Wilhelm von Gloeden.

Wilhelm von Gloeden, a famous German photographer who arrived in Italy, precisely in Taormina, to receive medical cures for tuberculosis. Once cured, the artist settled in the town where he got rid of his disease, until his death. Gloeden lived off of private income until 1985, painting and taking photos. Almost 50 years of Taromina’s story refers to the life of this character: before his naked ephebes with laurel wreath, Gloeden became famous for his eccentricity. For example, he loved bathing in his home with sea water, and every day many (well payed) young boys filled up the bath tub with saltwater barrels carried on shoulders from the beach at the feet of Taormina. Taormina had also been a destination of the Grand Tour for the gay nobles.

Taormina is a sexual destination for famous writers, painters and personalities of international politics and economy; amongst them, Oscar Wilde, the great actress Eleonora Duse and her companion Gabriele D’Annunzio.

You can relax on the wide golden beaches, clear waters or even in secluded romantic coves, enjoying the scents and colors of Sicily. The beaches of this beautiful city are among the most beautiful of Sicily, pebble beaches and a rich and colorful vegetation, make this landscape a real treasure for the Mediterranean.

Catania is a baroque city. Its mayor tourist attractions are piazza Frederick of Swabia, the Ursino Castle, the ancient Norman castle of the city, the Roman Baths, the Fish Market, Piazza del Duomo with its many buildings and symbol of Catania and the Elephant Fountain.

Siracusa is another beautiful city in Sicily. It was founded by the Greeks during the first colonization of Magna Grecia.

In the Archaeological park, the most visited attraction in Siracusa, there are the remains of the Roman Amphitheater, the Greek Theater, the Ear of Dionysius, the artificial cave. According to legend, the tyrant Dionysus dug the cave to hide his prisoners and hear their speeches.

The city of Palermo is famous for the traditional open-air markets of Ballarò and Vucciria. In this city it is incredible to get lost in narrow streets and end up on the streets where these markets are held. You can discover a new way to shop, among the stalls of fruit and fish and the scent of Sicilian street food, such as fritters (a sandwich with chickpea flour and tortilla inside) or “pani ca meusa” (the Sicilian word for spleen, only for the brave).

Near Palermo there are Scopello and the Zingaro Nature Reserve. The lights of Scopello and the Gulf of Castellammare del Golfo, will be the two points of view that will make you fall in love with these unique places. Mountains, olive groves and fields that run to the sea, in an intriguing atmosphere, closely connected with nature. Moreover, you can relax in the deep blue waters, at the “Old Tuna’s home” of the gulf and the two incredible Faraglioni. It is not by chance that Dolce&Gabbana have chosen these places to shoot the advertisement for their perfume with model David Gandy.

Noto is another Sicilian famous gay friendly destination. In 2002 Noto was defined Capital of Baroque and its historic center was declared Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

On of the most important appointment for LGBTQ+ community in the city is “Giacinto Festival”, usually organized during the first week of August.

Giacinto Festival is a very interesting festival because it treats the cultural and social aspects of LGBTQ+ community.

Moreover, in Noto there is Marianelli Beach that is an untouched and wild paradise, located in Vendicari Nature Reserve. It is characterized by clear and warm water. Marianelli Beach was elected “Ideal beach” by gays and nudist.

The best recommended gay friendly hotels in Sicily:

  • Hotel Isola Bella is a 3-star hotel in Taormina, located in front to the bay which it takes its name. The Hotel is minimal and inspired to the Aeolian style.
  • Hotel Villa Diodoro is a 4-star hotel in Taormina, located just a just a few steps from the idyllic town of Taormina.
  • Hotel Tonic is a 3-star hotel in Palermo, located between the most important theatres of the city, the Massimo and the Politeama.
  • Hotel Ibis Style Palermo President Hotel is a 4-star hotel in Palermo, located Just a stone’s throw from the port of Palermo and the center, and just 10 minutes from Mondello Beach.

Listings

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Coming Out Bar Open now

Coming Out is the first gay bar in Rome located just in front of the Colosseum.

Location: Coming Out, Via di San Giovanni in Laterano, Roma, RM, ItaliaWebsite: www.comingout.itPhone: 06 700 9871
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Exlusive Connection Closed nowOpens at 09:00:AM tomorrow

Exclusive Connection is a tour operator founded by Lucia Montuschi. The tour operator operates

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Axel Hotel Venezia is a 3-star hotel located in an ideal position for discovering

Location: Dorsoduro, 222, 30123 Venezia, Veneto, ItaliaWebsite: https://www.axelhotels.com/en/axel-hotel-venezia/hotel.htmlPhone: +39 041 523 5404
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STRAF is a 4-star hotel situated in the city centre, a short walk from the Duomo

Location: Via S. Raffaele, 3, 20121 Milano Milano, ItaliaWebsite: https://www.straf.it/en/Phone: +39 02 805 081
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Hotel Garda is a 3-star hotel located just a 5 minutes walk from Central Station. It

Location: Via Napo Torriani, 21, 20124 Milano, MI, ItaliaWebsite: http://www.hotelgardamilan.comPhone: +39 02 6698 2626
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Leccomilano – Un buco di bar Closed nowOpens at 06:00:PM tomorrow

Leccomilano – Un buco di bar is a gay friendly bar and restaurant. It is opened since 2004 and it

Location: Via Lecco, 5, 20124 Milano, Milano MI, ItaliaWebsite: https://www.leccomilano.itPhone: +39 02 9163 9877
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