Rome is the epitome of a European capital city that has a rich history and culture, and is proud to keep it that way at its forefront. Its gay scene is not as prominent as other cities such as Paris, Berlin and Madrid – and you can probably “thank” the fact that the Pope resides there for that – but in the past decade or so has begun to catch up and cater towards its LGBT community and tourists that travel there. The city does, however, have a lot to offer travellers who want to sightsee and learn more about Rome and Italy’s long and interesting history and many consider it one the world’s best places to escape to for a romantic holiday.
Arcigay has been the largest national LGBT organisation since 1985 and have been fighting for more LGBT rights for many years, including civil unions, gay marriage, gays and lesbians being able to adopt and more recognition for transgender people. Many gay venues throughout Italy require people, both natives and foreigners, to purchase Arcigay membership (usually about €10), in addition to the admission cost, even those who are just visiting the country for a short time.
Unlike more modern and cosmopolitan cities such as Manchester and Barcelona, Rome’s gay venues are not confined in one specific area and are found all cross the city, but neither are they as obvious, with many of them being hidden behind busy areas down small streets or above other buildings and businesses. This is perhaps because of the city’s strong religious influence that gay places feel less accepted or are made to cover up. This should not stop tourists though, as there are an increasing number of gay-owned bars and clubs, shops, restaurants, cafes and other venues that should be checked out and are becoming more and more popular with the LGBT community, particularly around Viale San Giovanni, which attracts most of them (although again, is not the city’s main gay area). There’s even a gay beach located about 40km away from the city. For a full, detailed list of places, click here.
Besides trying out Rome’s gay scene, the city’s obvious attractions are of course its beautiful and intriguing architecture – which ranges from ancient to medieval, from renaissance to baroque, from neoclassicism to to fascist; historical and religious sites; and famous statues. The Colosseum, the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, the Piazza del Popolo, the Pantheon, the Column of Marcus Aurelius and the gardens of Villa Borghese are just some of the most popular places worth visiting. Art galleries, history museums and, more recently, fashion exhibitions are also abundant. However, if you really are more of a modern fashionista, then style capital Milan – approximately 600km to the north of Rome – is the place to go if you have time, and although it seems far, a stop off at Florence along the way is recommended. For a shorter but just as worthwhile a journey, Naples is situated around 220km south of Rome.
At Gay Homestays we have an extensive range of more than 100 accommodations available in Rome, whether they be spare rooms in people’s apartments or houses, guesthouses or B&Bs or whole properties, with a good mix of both LGBT and LGBT-friendly hosts who welcome anybody to stay with them to enjoy and explore this great and interesting city. So why not check them out and book one for when you next travel to Rome?
The best times to visit Rome are during the cooler but warm months of Spring and Autumn but if you want to go for Pride and see the LGBT community take over the usually conservative city, then it takes place on 15th June. From then on and until September there is also “Gay Village“, a summer-long festival chock-a-block with events and parties all over Rome and in its gay venues.