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Rome Gay Travel

Why is Rome gay travel so easy? It’s easy to meet other gay travelers, plus you can visit the notorious Rome gay saunas. Discover the best of gay Rome with wolfyy.

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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. Experiencing local life therefore requires planning and tenacity. Good thing you have this Rome gay travel guide to help out with your journey!
Rome gay travel
Rome gay travel
Italian dinner
If you are someone privy to making friends on dating apps, Rome may prove difficult for you. While visiting the city, you must remember that the local gay guys see enormous amounts of gay tourists throughout the year. Many profiles will state that they are only interested in meeting locals or talking to Italians. I’m not saying don’t try, but be aware of why you may be met with radio silence.
Italian dinner
Nevertheless, the gay Italians in Rome should be just as open and friendly as most other Mediterranean men. They live free-spirited, proud lives. So, when in Rome, try to meet an Italian; Then, do as the gay Romans do!
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Rome Gay Travel: Where to Stay

I will recommend a few different areas of Rome based on your specific goals as a gay traveler. If you’re only focused on the Colosseum, Vatican, or other tourist hotspots, then it goes without saying you should stay near those attractions. 

Rome gay travel attractions
Rome gay travel stay
Rome gay travel attractions

However, since you are reading this Rome gay travel guide, you’re probably looking for a more authentic area to stay in. Let’s find something local!

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. This is a huge benefit in summer. There are plenty of shops and restaurants within arm’s reach.
Rome gay travel stay
The best part about this area of Rome is that it’s very central, so you can easily reach any part of the city. Walking through these pathways, I fell in love with the area. Next time I’m in Rome, I will aim to stay here.

Trastevere & Ludovisi

Trastevere is a favorite neighborhood of mine. This is one of the best places to stay in Rome. It has a fun local vibe where you can experience real Roman life. 

Travastere neighborhood

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.

Travastere neighborhood
Rome gay neighborhood

The Ludovisi neighborhood in Rome also has a local feel, away from the tourist droves. Ludovisi is also where the Rome gay sauna is, for those seeking such proximity convenience.

Rome gay travel tips

Ludovisi is quieter and closer to the Rione XVII Sallustiano business district. I stayed in a wonderful and quite large Ludovisi Airbnb rental the second time I visited Rome. Walking through this area is wonderful since you can see the locals going about their workweek.

Where is The Rome Gay Neighborhood?

Many cities around the world have gay neighborhoods where gay bars are clustered together or where gay men mainly live. Rome is a bit different. Gay men in Rome are quite spread out and live in many different areas of the city.
Rome gay neighborhood
Rome gay travel
iron fence with historic sign

There is no official gay neighborhood in Rome, but what I can tell you is that the majority of gay locals are not living in the exact city center. They tend not to live near the crowds of tourists. You can find plenty of them in neighborhoods like Ludovisi, Salario and Trastevere.

Neighborhoods to Avoid in Rome

I caution travelers against staying near the Roma Termini train station, a neighborhood called Esquilino. This is not the Roma 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.

iron fence with historic sign

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!

Rome Gay Travel Experiences

The park adjacent to the 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!

Rome gay travel

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.

Rome gay travel
Rome gay travel
Roman palace in park

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.

Roman palace in park

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!

Only have a short stay in Rome? A bus tour with Big Bus Tours Rome is a great way to see as much of the city as you can in a short time period. Plus, seeing the ancient city from an open-air bus is a pretty relaxed way to take in the sights.

Recommended Rome Restaurants

Where are the cutest men in Rome? You might just find them 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!

hangout cafe Rome
hangout cafe Rome
best pizza Rome

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. They have reasonable prices for both a complete several-course dinner and bottle of wine. La Scala is less bustling since its just up a set of stairs off the main drag from Piazza Barberini.

La Grande Bellezza Pizza

La Grande Bellezza is fantastic 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.

best pizza Rome

Favorite Architectural Sites in Ancient Rome

Fuori Imperiali 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!

Fuori Imperiali
Fuori Imperiali
Elegant church

Basilica di Santa Maria in the Trastevere neighborhood is absolutely stunning. It is my favorite church in Rome. Something about the trayed ceiling details combined with the deep colors make it very special to me. It’s not crowded either, so you can walk right in!

Elegant church

You can find 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 where you can order some champagne and snacks.

Rome Gay Travel: 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.

gay travel Rome
gay travel Rome
Rome gay travel experience

Here are my top picks for some time in central Rome. You easily can visit the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and the Roman Forum, in that order. You could even add the Colosseum to this route if you’d like. Accomplishing all of these in three to four hours is doable.

Rome Gay Bars & Parties

If you did some quick googling for gay bars in Rome, you may have come across a place called Coming Out Rome. This small Rome gay bar is right next to the Colosseum. In my opinion, the Coming Out Rome gay bar is not worth a visit. I’ll tell you why.

Rome gay bars

I’ve 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 most people just sit on the sidewalk. You probably won’t find any Roman gay guys here since the bar is mainly for tourists anyway. Since there was no ambiance and no locals to be found, I recommend going elsewhere.

painting on vaulted ceiling
Rome gay bars
painting on vaulted ceiling

COX is an enormous circuit party that rotates between Rome, Florence and Milan. When the party is in town, COX takes place in a large Rome gay club space. Check out the COX Website to see if there is an event happening in Rome during your visit as well as the location details.

Many Italians I’ve met in my travels have heard of and/or attended one of the COX events. 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

There are a ton of gay men in Rome, and so there is usually always some activity in the Rome gay saunas. At gay saunas in Rome, you won’t only find tourists. The local gay Romans also hang out there!

Rome gay travel guide

Europa Multi Club

Europa Multi Club is the largest and most well-known gay sauna in Rome. The facility is large and includes various amenities including pools, steam rooms & a hot sauna.

Rome gay cruising

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 cost seems to fluctuate as I’ve heard different people paying different prices. The minimum will be 15 Euro. They may try to charge you more, especially if you say it is your first time there.

Rome gay travel guide

Best Time to Go to Rome 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.

Rome gay sauna directions
Rome gay sauna directions
Rome gay cruising

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 Gay Travel Tips

You must have cash with you upon check in to any Airbnb or hotel. The city of Rome collects a tax from each traveler (about 3.50 Euro) in cash without exception. Your Airbnb host or hotel receptionist will collect this immediately and it will not be possible to add to the total hotel bill.

Rome gay travel experience

When going to see Michelangelo’s David, I suggest going directly to the Accademia and buying a ticket off the street. The lines to get into the gallery without a ticket are outrageous and can put a real damper on things. Also, buying a ticket beforehand forces you into a specific time slot which isn’t as convenient.

gay travel Rome
Rome gay travel tips
Rome gay travel safety

Instead, there will be some guys on the street looking to sell you tickets for the current time slot, whenever you arrive. The cost is about 10 Euros more than the normal ticket price, but the reduced time and stress are more than worth it.

Using Your Time Wisely in Rome

Gay travel to Rome comes with a bit of stress. You’ll want to find and hang out with local gay Romans 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.

rome Castel Sant'angelo
rome Castel Sant'angelo
ancient castle

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.

Rome gay travel experience
Rome gay travel

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!

Rome gay travel safety

Is Rome Expensive?

Rome is a very large city with a variety of neighborhoods. Rome is cheaper than Florence yet more expensive than Naples. In my opinion, Rome is not very expensive. I’ve had luck staying in beautiful Airbnb rentals for less than 40 Euros per night including fees.

ancient castle
Rome gay travel experience
gay travel Rome

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: 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.

Roma terrmini station
shuttle bus FCO termini
Roma terrmini station
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 busses 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.

shuttle bus FCO termini

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.

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.

Rome gay travel

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.

italy LGBT rights
water fountain on street in park
water fountain on street in park

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.

Tuscany gay travel

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.

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Planning gay travel to Italy? Don’t miss the wonderful Tuscany region.  You can also explore wolfyy’s gay travel guides to Naples, The Amalfi Coast and Sardinia.

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