Gay Guide to ROME

Gay Rome stimulates the eye, palette and mind! Come for the history, the ruins and monuments, the art, the unmistakable feel, and stylish sensuousness. But come most especially for the Romans!

Gay Scene Rome

While gay life in Rome is still discreet and somewhat hidden away, Italy is slowly changing. The gay scene is small but vibrant with great bars and busy nightclubs.

Rome Gay Street

Gay bars and clubs are dotted across the city, however the “Gay Street” close to the Colosseum is the de-facto Gay district and home to some of the city’s busiest gay bars.

Our Insiders Guide to Gay Rome!

The city of Rome is spread out over its seven famous hills and the valleys between them.  Everywhere you turn you will find ancient monuments dotted around the spaghetti-like streets.  Vespas carrying hot Italian boys will whisk by at high speed making their way to the gay bars and cafes by Via di San Giovanni in Laterano, Rome’s so called “Gay Street”. Even as they epitomize macho, these men with gentle charm will invite you to share in “la dolce vita” of their lives, in a culture that’s been millennia in the making.

Gay Bar Rome

Rome is a busy destination year-round and you will always find the bars busy from early evening such as at Freni E Frizioni in the charming Trastevere district.

When to visit?

Just like Italian fashion, Rome takes on a different appearance each season.  Our favourite times to visit are the Spring. The return of the fragrant trees bursting with colours and the markets full of resh fruit and vegetables makes this an ideal time to experience all the city has to offer.  Early Autumn is also less hectic as Romans return to work and the tourists return home. Temperatures begin to rise in Rome from early June.   The city is hot and crowded in July and August and many of the regular gay nights at clubs take a well earned siesta until September.  Don’t worry though, the city rocks in the Summer with the arrival of The Gay Village, the largest gay and lesbian event in Italy located in the Eur neighbourhood. The village is made up of a large park with several restaurants, two dance floors, bars, shops and a weekly program of international DJs and world famous circuit parties.  The event attracts more than 350,000 visitors each year and is one of the highlights of Rome’s gay calendar.

Getting your bearings.

Most of the ancient wonders, including the Colosseum and Roman Forum, are south of the piazza in the Centro Storico. To the north are the Villa Borghese and Spanish Steps while eastward lie the and the central train station, Roma Termini. Crowded among the winding baroque and medieval streets to the west’s Trastevere area, are Piazza Navona’s Bernini fountain, Campo de’Fiori and the Pantheon. The Vatican City lies further west, across the wandering Tiber River.

Also, don’t miss Trastavere,  best experienced during the evening. Head south across the Tiber and deeper into the medieval Trastevere district (literally, “Across the Tiber”). Sites here include the golden mosaics of the Santa Maria in Trastevere (Via di San Calisto) and the 13th-century fresco at the Basilica di Santa Cecilia (Piazza Di S. Cecilia 22). The area is also home to some of our favourite restaurants.

  • Getting Around

    Central Rome is best seen on foot. With some of the most frenzied and chaotic traffic west of Istanbul, driving and buses in the city center are a nightmare. Even crossing the streets can be hair-raising. Have confidence, and don’t hesitate. If you have cold feet, just follow other crossers.

  • Coffee Coffee Coffee!

    Slow to wake, Rome needs a good, shot-sized kick of caffè to get up (and at least three more to keep moving). Doing as the Romans do, hit up the local bar for a friendly fix and a cornetto, a flaky pastry similar to a croissant. Adequately caffeinated, take on the Colosseum, where once upon a time (before the gates were erected) this mammoth wonder of ancient Rome was also a gay cruising hotspot. Another popular place for your morning coffee is Piazza Navona. Savor your morning fix there, soaking in the Baroque splendour of Bernini’s Fontana dei Fiumi.

  • Opening Times

    Rome pretty much shuts down from early- to mid-afternoon as everyone takes an extended pausa, so cool your heels over a nice lunch with a carafe of wine.

Where to stay in ROME?

A three-millennia-old work-in-progress, Rome can seem profoundly confusing and absurdly convoluted. The city is enormous, but the main drag of tourist musts, loosely centred around , is relatively manageable area. Hotels are spread throughout, many of them quite breathtaking. We suggest you stay in the historic district in the centre of the city, close to most of the tourist attractions and gay nightlife.

Mercure Roma Centro Colosseo

Some of the best views of the city!

Mercure Roma Centro Colosseo is a striking white building set in a historic area of Rome. The rooftop terrace with swimming pool offers views of the Coliseum and Colle Oppio Park. WiFi is free throughout. Check rates now

Hotel Artemide

One of the most popular hotels with gay visitors.

Hotel Artemide sells fast on our website. The Artemide is set in a 19th-century building on the vibrant Via Nazionale. A free minibar and free Wi-Fi access are available in each of the elegant rooms. Check for rates

Hotel ART

Stunning conversion – amazing finish!

This spectacular converted chapel is now home to the Hotel Art by the Spanish Steps. A daringly modern which takes its name from its artistic décor and its fantastic location. The elegant rooms come with parquet floors and air conditioning. Check rates now!

The gay scene in ROME


The gay scene is spread out across Rome however there is a small gay street (literary called “Gay Street” which opened in 2007) just beside the Colosseum where you can find the busiest gay bars, restaurants and hotels. Like the rest of Rome it is worth exploring the bars dotted across the city!

Coming Out

Coming out is one of Rome’s most famous gay bistro bar/café and is open all day withvarious theme nights. Popular and busy in the evenings.

Beige Bar Rome

Beige Bar is located in the trendy Trastevere district and is famous for its Mediterranean buffet between 7 and 10pm.

Bunker Rome

Bunker is the largest men’s cruise club in Rome with themed nights and dress codes and a busy Naked & Underwear party on Thursdays.

The Random House

The Random is a busy bar and pizzeria with food, music, cocktails and more. Busy Karaoke on Tuesdays and party every night after 11pm!

Gay bars we love in Rome!

Many gay bars in Rome are multi-purpose. They will open early for breakfast and also serve lunch. Some host delicious special buffet means in the late evening. The party atmosphere normally kicks in after 11pm when people stop eating and start dancing!

Coming  Out is perhaps Rome’s most popular gay bar and is open for lunch and dinner and later for drinks and partying. The street in front of this bar is crowded from late afternoon during the warm nights of the Summer.

Nearby, “My Bar”, offers a great breakfast and a wide range of beer on tap. Staff are friendly and they host the occasional Karaoke night.

Spacious and Romanesque, L’Alibi is full of arches, frescoes, and dancing queens, especially during summer when the outdoor roof patio opens. Two metro stops south of the Coliseum, this is the gay club for many Romans.

The student-oriented Trastevere area also contains a few gay nightlife options, such as the quiet and tasteful Garbo (Vicolo S. Margherita 1/a: +39-06-583-20782), which is good for snuggling in the corner or chatting up the locals.

Another popular  bar here is “Beige” with a great buffet from 7 to 10pm, sublime cocktails and regular theme nights.

Those looking to party late into the night should visit Muccassassina. It’s a gay hetro-friendly party ever Friday at Qube disco with large dark room, drag performances and hot gogos.

Near the Colosseum is the Hangar, a perennially packed staple of gay Roman nightlife. Covered in neon cityscape murals, the black-lit bar segues into an equally spacious dark room. Another popular venue for cruising is Bunker complete with strip shows, videos and a dark room. They also host the popular Frutta e Verdura afterparty.

What Rome lacks in its rather hidden-away gay scene, it makes up for in its unmistakable queer flourishes throughout  the city, from The Vatican with its countless statues of handsome men to the Baroque explosion that is the Trevi Fountain. The Church is still influential, so gay sexuality might be expressed less openly, in more traditional Mediterranean ways than in other large European cities. But in terms of masculine affection, there are few inhibitions. An undercurrent of homoerotic consciousness seems barely but discreetly concealed. It is one of Rome’s greatest ironies, it seems less like a city of God and more like a city founded to celebrate the human body — mostly the male one.

  • Entrance Fees and the Arcigay Card

    Arcigay Roma Gruppo ORA  is the national organization, based in Bologna, which works on behalf of gay people for changes in Italian society. Visitors will soon notice that most bars, saunas and many other gay businesses in Italy require membership to enter their establishment. Many are associated with Arcigay. A card bought at these clubs is valid nationwide at all member establishments. The fee helps gay Italians work for a more equitable society, one that’s more enjoyable for you to visit.

What to See & Do in ROME


No matter when you visit the city, you will quickly understand why Rome is considered la citta la pue bella del mondo. Everywhere you look, you will find stunning architecture, with many of the buildings transformed to house hotels, boutiques , galleries and museums. As you drink in the gay bars you cannot but notice the floodlight Coliseum, still the world’s largest amphitheatre. Yes you are in Rome, birthplace of modern Western culture and the city that gave us the everything from the alphabet to the bathhouse.

The Vatican Museum

Head to the Museum early and go for the Skip the line tour with private guide offering a unique insight into its treasures. It is so worth it.

Trevi Fountain Rome

Head to the Trevi Fountain at night for the ultimate light-show experience! Don’t tempt fate, follow the tradition and toss a coin in the fountain – if only to help with the upkeep!

The Colosseum

No trip to Rome is complete without a visit to the Colosseum – it is really awe inspiring (and close to the gay street for a post visit drink)

The Spanish Steps Rome

The Spanish Steps is one of our favourite monuments to visit when in Rome. The earlier you visit the less crowded it will be. Great for people watching.

Sights worth seeing!

It doesn’t matter where you begin your exploration of the city, because there are certain attractions where everyone ends up. Among these are the Vatican and Colosseum, the Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Piazza Navona, the Catacombs, the Sistine Chapel and the hundreds of churches and piazzas which are scattered throughout the city.

Get to the Vatican Museum early in the morning as it often closes before 2pm and there’s oodles of art to ogle.

The most important thing to remember is that you are not going to see everything. Some focus on the main attractions spending plenty of time on each one. Others spend their stay rushing from one attraction to the other trying to fit as much as they can into a very short space of time. Whichever option you choose, rest assured that you will enjoy it thoroughly but if you do intend returning, and you probably will, the former is probably the better of the two.

The city is navigable on your own and you can get into every ticketed site on your own. We recommend that you hire a guide who can whisk you in and out of the attractions you re most interested in . Take the skip the line tours to avoid long queues.

Shopping & Dining in ROME


No matter when you visit the city, you will quickly understand why Rome is considered la citta la pue bella del mondo. Everywhere you look, you will find stunning architecture, with many of the buildings transformed to house hotels, boutiques , galleries and museums. As you drink in the gay bars you cannot but notice the floodlight Coliseum, still the world’s largest amphitheatre. Yes you are in Rome, birthplace of modern Western culture and the city that gave us the everything from the alphabet to the bathhouse.

Via-Condotti

Head to Via-Condotti for some of the most luxurious window shopping in Europe or venture inside one of the many boutiques – Italian style is always in fashion.

Dinner by the Tiber

Visiting in the Summer, then take a taxi and head to the banks of the Tiber for lunch by the river or on the island!

Lunch and Shopping

Take time out from your shopping with a stop in some of the many excellent cafes and restaurants conveniently located in-between the best stores and boutiques.

Ice Cream Rome

No trip to Rome would be complete without a visit to a gelaterie artigianali – or Artesan Ice Cream store. Pay a visit tCome il Latte is located at Via Silvio Spaventa 24/26, a 5-minute walk from Piazza Repubblica.

A Shoppers Paradise!

Shopping in Rome can be quite expensive. Rents are high and costs are passed on to consumers.  However there are some good bargains to be had if you visit the right streets.

Shopping hours are generally Monday 3.30pm to 7.30pm and Tuesday through to Saturday 9.40am to 1pm and 3.30pm to 7pm.

For a different kind of religious experience, take a walk up the chi-chi Via Cola di Rienza, which heads northeast from Vatican City. More and even chic-er boutiques can be found across the river around the Spanish Steps, especially Via Condotti, Via Borgognona, Via della Croce, and Via Babuino (in Tridente). Via Del Corso and its side streets hold great casual items — shoes, jackets, and leather goods.

Check out Via Borgognona near Piazza de Spagna, fantastic for window shopping and people watching.  For superb Italian leather goods visit Via Vittorio Veneto and check out their chic cafes.

Via Cola De Rienzo runs alongside the Vatican and is full of trendy clothes stores. Via Del Corso is chic and charming with reasonably priced shopping and busy cafes for those in need of a shopping-break.

Dining out – where to eat?

Although everyone loves Italian food, figuring out where and what to eat in Italy can pose problems for the traveller. Knowing what type of meal or snack you wish to have and considering time limitations, you may wish to consider one of the following choices:

  • Bar: The place to have espresso and all its variations, rolls and small sandwiches, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Pay first and give the receipt to barman with order. It is usual to stand at the bar, as there is a service charge for sitting at a table. Bars in Italy are open from early morning to late night.
  • Panineria: A sandwich bar, where a quick meal can be had.
  • Trattoria: Less formal than a ristorante, where local specialties are served.
  • Ristorante: The most formal type of place to eat when one is not in a hurry. The order of courses is antipasto, pasta or soup, main course, salad, and dessert, all accompanied by good wine.

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