If the specter of Ancient Rome with it's gladiators and oiled-up, battle-hardened Roman soldiers gets your pulse pounding, make sure a trip to gay Rome is on your next travel itinerary. No matter your tastes and inclinations, there's plenty to see and do in modern Rome as well. Everywhere you turn in this sun-drenched city, you'll find the human form celebrated in art ranging from the statuary and sculpture on almost every street to works in classic venues and modern galleries alike.
Although gay Rome has been memorialized in literature, fantasy and film, the city itself is surprisingly conservative in many ways. Historically, homosexuality is nearly interlinked with Rome in the minds of those outside of Italy, but in reality, it has endured a relatively modest existence in daily, public life. Gay civil unions were not given legal protection until as recently as 2016. However, that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of hot action to be found during your visit.
What to Do in Gay Rome?
Aside from historic landmarks like the Colosseum and St. Peter's Basilica, there are plenty of museums, restaurants and shopping venues. The main gay-friendly area is confined to a 300-metre 'gay street' in the city's centre on the Via San Giovanni in Laterano, near the east side of the Colosseum. Here, you'll find gay-friendly cafes and bars, but it's during the evening when things really heat up. During summer nights, this cobbled street is filled with people sipping cocktails and mingling. The two most famous bars on this street are Coming Out and the cruising bar, Il Diavolo Dentro (The Devil Inside). Another 'not-to-miss' is Muccassassina, the internationally infamous gay party. There are also renowned bathhouses, including Europa Multiclub (EMC), Apollion Sauna and the SPArtacus Bear Sauna (memberships are required to enter saunas and cruising bars, but they're available at the door).
In addition to the spicy club life, annual events abound in gay Rome. If you're traveling in winter, Rome hosts Fetish Pride Italy every December. During the summer months, you can celebrate pride in June with the Gay Pride Rome events. Another great venue is Gay Village, an open-air LGBTQ festival with DJs, shows and movies, as well as a variety of sporting events and theatrical productions. But, no matter when you decide to visit the City on Seven Hills, you'll have a gay old time while in Rome.