Rome Gay Travel
Rome gay travel recommendations for hotels, where to stay, gay bars, saunas, restaurants, pride events & things to do.
The Gay Travel Experience: Rome, Italy
Local gay Italians coexist with floods of international tourists here in the eternal city! Rome will test your limits on experiencing local gay life. Similar to Florence, there are extreme amounts of tourists visiting Rome every single day.
Even though Rome is gay friendly, experiencing local life therefore requires planning and tenacity. But this Rome gay travel guide will certainly help you plan your journey.
For those who love making friends on Grindr or other apps, remember that the Rome gay scene is quite full of tourists. Locals see enormous amounts of LGBT visitors throughout the year.
Many of their profiles will state that they are only interested in meeting locals or talking to Italians. While I’m not saying don’t try, meeting guys on gay apps in Rome might be a bit difficult.
Nevertheless, the gay Italians here should be just as open and friendly as most other Mediterranean men. They live free-spirited, proud lives.
Gay Rome: Hotels & Where to Stay
I’ll recommend a few different areas of Rome based on your goals as a gay traveler. If you’re only focused on the Colosseum, Vatican, or other tourist hotspots, then the obvious choice is to stay near those attractions. However there are plenty of great hidden gems.
The most adorable area to stay in Rome is the part of town between Piazza Navona and Palazzo Firenze. Narrow cobblestone streets in this area lie lower than the surrounding street grid, keeping everything cooler in summer.
The best part about Piazza Navona is the central location. You can easily reach any part of the city. Walking through these pathways, I fell in love with the area. There are plenty of shops and restaurants nearby, too.
Trastevere is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Rome. It has a fun local vibe where you can experience authentic Roman life.
There are loads of restaurants and bars along calmly bustling streets. Public transport is abundant to get you from Trastevere to go to the large ancient Roman sites.
The abundance of charming Trastevere vacation rentals makes it an easy choice for travelers. You can always count on great style in these apartments, and they’re so close to some of the best attractions.
The Ludovisi neighborhood in Rome also has a local feel, away from the tourist droves. Ludovisi is also where the local gay sauna is, for those seeking such proximity convenience.
Ludovisi is quieter and closer to the Rione XVII Sallustiano business district. I stayed in a wonderful and quite large Ludovisi apartment rental the second time I visited Rome and I got such an incredible deal.
For less than 40 Euros a night, I actually scored a 1 bedroom, two bathroom apartment with a full kitchen and living room overlooking local restaurants.
Walking through the Ludovisi area, you’ll be able to peek into stunningly ornate churches on so many corners, yet be able to see the locals going about their workweek.
Is There a Rome Gay Neighborhood?
Rome doesn’t have an official gay neighborhood. But, I can tell you that most gay locals tend to live away from the city center, avoiding tourist crowds. You can find them in neighborhoods like Ludovisi, Salario and Trastevere for example.
Neighborhoods to Avoid in Rome
I caution travelers against staying near the Roma Termini train station, a neighborhood called Esquilino. This is not the Rome you want to experience.
The area is kind of dirty and much poorer than the rest of the city. It’s also probably not a place you want to be walking around late at night.
Accommodations in Esquilino and other areas surrounding Roma Termini should only be booked if you have an early trip out of Rome and need to be close to the Termini station. There is a reason why accommodations are much cheaper here!
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Rome Gay Travel Experiences
The park adjacent to Villa Doria Pamphili is spectacular. It’s great for a run, a picnic or just relaxing in the shade. If you’re looking for a romantic place to spend a few hours, this is it!
The Villa Doria Pamphili park is most conveniently reached if you are staying in Trastavere. However, even if you’re staying in Central Rome, I’d say a trip here is more than worth it. The actual Villa itself is certainly a delightful sight to see.
You can find nature closer to the city center in Parco Della Mole Adriana, a park that surrounds the Castel Sant’Angelo. Since you can only enter the park from the riverside promenade, the paths are tranquil, separated from foot traffic.
The only people in Parco Della Mole Adriana are those seeking serenity under the tree-lined walkways. It’s also fun to walk along the small pathway of the outer fortifications. You can stroll right along the trenches. No one does this, and its super fun!
Best Ancient Rome Architectural Sites
The Imperial Forum is spectacular to see at night. Upward pointed lights illuminate the beautiful ancient column and nearby walls. Fuori Imperiali is the most memorable site I saw in Rome after dark. Since it’s so well lit, you should save this one for your after-dinner walk!
Basilica di Santa Maria in the Trastevere neighborhood is absolutely stunning. It is my favorite church in Rome. Something about the tray ceiling details combined with the deep colors make it very special to me. It’s not crowded either.
Experience unmatched serenity in the cloisters at Chiesa di Santa Maria Della Pace. This church is off the regular tourist circuit and so you will have a chance to enjoy the magnificent structure and adornments in peace. There is even a little restaurant in the building for a snack or cocktail.
Traditional Attraction Top Picks
It goes without saying that all tourists should spend a part of their trip seeing the Colosseum and other famous sites.
However, I believe your visit to Rome will be much more enjoyable if you choose only a few of the large hotspots and then focus the rest of your time on local areas.
You could even add the Colosseum to this route if you’d like. Accomplishing all of these in three to four hours is definitely possible.
Rome Gay Pride
As a hugely tourist-friendly city, Rome gay pride attracts an enormous international crowd. I definitely want to go back to Rome during their summer LGBT pride festival! You’ve got to admit, celebrating gay pride in Ancient Rome is pretty legendary.
If you’re planning on attending the event (which is typically around the first week of June), make sure to book your hotel well in advance.
Rome has a ton of accommodations, but the best locations will easily fill up during Pride events. Dont forget there are also tons of Rome hostels to choose from.
You might just find some of the cutest Rome locals inside Hangout Café, a business lunch restaurant. During the lunchtime hour, handsome men in suits pour in!
Hangout Café is a modern and delicious lunch option serving traditional Italian food. You surely won’t find any tourists here!
Dinner at La Scala Via Veneto was such a memorable experience during my visit to Rome. I loved La Scala because the service was friendly, even to foreign tourists.
La Scala Via Veneto has reasonable prices for both a complete several-course dinner and bottle of wine. The restaurant is quieter since its just up a set of stairs off the main drag from Piazza Barberini.
La Grande Bellezza is fantastic restaurant for pizza, especially later at night. Their outdoor seating space is well-decorated with lights hanging from a trellis along the street. La Grande Bellezza has great service, a perfect ambiance and is never overcrowded.
Rome Gay Bars & Parties
A gay bar called Coming Out Rome probably comes up first during a quick internet search. In my opinion, this gay bar right next to the Colosseum isn’t worth a visit.
I walked past Coming Out Rome during each of my visits to the Italian capital and I was not impressed. There is no real cohesive “bar space” and people tend to just sit along the street.
You probably won’t find any local gay guys here anyway, since the bar is mainly for tourists.
Their website has event lists for Rome as well as location details. In the video below you can get a glimpse of what it’s like!
Many Italians I’ve met in my travels have heard of and/or attended one of the COX gay parties in Rome. They all approve and suggest travelers to attend. I didn’t get a chance to go, but I would have loved to!
Rome Gay Saunas
With such a huge gay population, you can definitely count on some activity at the gay saunas in Rome. They’re not just for tourists. Local Italians go too!
Europa Multi Club
Europa Multi Club is the largest and most well-known Rome gay sauna. The facility is large and includes various amenities including pools, steam rooms & a hot sauna.
The sauna environment is very relaxed. Check your phone in a mini-locker at the front desk, and then head downstairs to the regular locker rooms. The entrance cost will be 15 Euro.
If it is your first time there, you will also need to pay 9 Euro for a membership card. Membership cards are required at all establishments designated as private clubs in Italy.
Best Times for Gay Saunas
What’s the best time to visit the gay sauna in Rome? It depends on which crowd you’re seeking. If you prefer to meet local guys, then avoid going during traditional 9-5 working hours.
Overall, the best time to visit Rome gay saunas is on the weekend, specifically in the late afternoon or evening. If you are not in Rome on the weekend, I recommend going after 4pm on a weekday.
It may feel strange to go to a gay sauna in the afternoon during the week. If you’ve been to gay saunas in Spain for example, they would normally be empty at this time. This is not necessarily the case at a Rome gay bathhouse!
Rome Travel Tips
You’ll need cash upon check in to any rental or hotel. The city of Rome collects a tax from each traveler (about 3.50 Euro) in cash without exception.
The hotel receptionist or host will collect the deposit immediately. Usually it will not be possible to add to the total hotel bill.
Whenever I’m flying between European cities, I always check Vueling first. Their tickets are some of the cheapest, they have tons of flights to Rome and I’d definitely choose them over Ryanair.
Using Your Time Wisely in Rome
A trip to Rome can easily come with a bit of stress. You’ll want to find and hang out with Rome gay locals while still getting to the big historical sites. Remember that Rome is a huge city and you surely won’t be able to cover everything in one trip. It’s best to prioritize.
I suggest splitting your time wisely by choosing only a few main attractions like the ones mentioned earlier. Spend the rest of your time finding hidden gems. Always pay attention to reviews too.
You will feel less stressed and more fulfilled in the end when you can say you have felt an authentic vibe from Rome.
How to Avoid Tourist Traps in Rome
Rome has a staggering number of international tourists. No matter what time of year you visit Rome, there will be no shortage of tour group herds, suitcases dragging down cobblestone paths and students hitting a staple city along traditional travel routes.
If at all possible, avoid eating at restaurants directly next to tourist attractions. Nine times out of ten, they are very poor quality and extremely over-priced.
Take the recommendations in this guide, or at least do some due diligence. If the restaurant is frantically busy with only German and American tourists, you may be in a tourist trap!
Is Rome Expensive?
Pizza is always cheap no matter where you are in Italy, but other food prices in Rome tend to be reasonable. If you’re on a budget, Rome is a great place to stay!
Directions from Roma Termini to FCO Airport
There are various ways to get transport between FCO Roma Fiumicino International Airport and Roma Termini station. The fastest way is to take the shuttle train, which runs every day quite frequently.
With the train shuttle, you will arrive at FCO in 30 minutes. You can buy tickets at the Termini station. They cost about 14 Euro.
A more economical option is to take a bus from Roma Termini to FCO airport. For a staggeringly low 5.50 Euro, you can buy a Terravision bus ticket. The buses are frequent and they take about 45 minutes to get to the FCO airport.
Make sure to anticipate some delay in your schedule, because traffic can vary. This means the bus may be a little late getting to the stop and may be a little late getting to the airport.
Reviews on Google for Terravision in Rome are not so good, but I had no issues at all. I think most confusion comes from people showing up to a wrong bus stop. I’d say to give it a try. The bus drops you off right at arrivals too.
Traveling between cities in Italy is quite convenient by bus. I traveled all around the Mediterranean coast using Flixbus buses, which are almost always exactly on time, comfortable, civilized and safe. They’re also pretty cheap. Book your ticket!
Make sure you get to the FCO airport well in advance of your flight. Passport control plus security lines can sometimes take an hour or more. Check out my tips for reducing stress at the airport.
Gay Rights in Italy
Same-sex activity has been legal in Italy since 1890 and transgender people have been able to legally change their gender since 1982. Also, gays and lesbians are allowed to openly serve in the military and there are workplace protections for LGBT people as well.
However, despite these liberal milestones, Italy only allows registration of same-sex unions, does not allow gay marriage within the country and will not recognize same sex marriage performed in other countries.
Gay rights in Italy are opposed by a strong far-right faction of the nation. However, there are increasing instances of victories for those supporting gay rights. Here’s a short article on Italy’s first transgender mayor speaking about how to defeat the far-right.
There is still much work to be done, as Italy lacks many of the LGBT protections in comparison to other European and Western nations. Stepchild adoption remains a pressing issue, currently dealt with on a case by case basis only.