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
Rome gay locals coexist with floods of international tourists, so the eternal city will definitely test your ability to experience local gay life. With a little tenacity and some tips from this Rome gay travel guide, you’ll be set for a great experience.
Rome is fairly gay-friendly, but the gay scene is more subdued than other European cities. While there is a large gay community here, you won’t find many gay bars or parties. There are a few though, and I’ll tell you where to find them.
Many LGBT travelers tend to use Grindr or other apps to meet gay locals in Rome. It’s a great idea, too! But keep in mind that many people’s profiles will state that they’re only interested in meeting other locals or Italians. If you learn a little Italian, you’ve got a much better chance.
Either way, it’s still worth a try. And if you don’t meet a gay local, there will surely be a bunch of other gay tourists in Rome looking to meet up or make friends.
Overall, Rome is an amazing gay destination, both for couples or single travelers. You’ll experience unforgettable food, culture and of course, architecture.
Gay Rome: Hotels & Where to Stay
Staying in hotel near Piazza Navona will offer the most charming, traditional Rome experience. This area is centrally located, making it easier to get to all the most popular attractions. There are plenty of shops and restaurants nearby, too.
Staying in Trastevere
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 apartment 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.
Staying in Ludovisi
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.
Does Rome Have A Gay Neighborhood?
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!
Planning Made Easier with wolfyy.
Add Your Email.
Rome Gay Travel Experiences
Villa Doria Pamphili
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.
Castel Sant'Angelo & Parco Della Mole Adriana
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!
Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pace
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.
The Imperial Forum
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 Trastavere
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.
Monte Mario Observatory
See stunning views of the Vatican and the rest of Rome at the Monte Mario Panoramic Terrace. At the observatory, you can see views of the city to the north and west. Two minutes down the winding roadway you can see to the south with a stunning view of the Vatican.
Taking a taxi here is best. Set your destination at the panoramic terrace viewpoint. Be careful not to confuse this with the Monte Mario entrance location. You want to go all the way up the steep winding roadway.
The Vatican & St. Peter’s Basilica
The Vatican is one of the most popular attractions in Rome and it’s obviously worth a visit. Vatican City is easy to get to, not far from the center of Rome.
St. Peter’s Basilica was the highlight for me. The ornate domes and overall grandeur of the structure make the wait worth it. Entry is free, by the way.
In all honesty, waiting in line to enter St. Peter’s Basilica can be brutal during the summer. If you visit during cooler seasons, the wait is much shorter and more comfortable.
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 Bus Tours
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 pride in Ancient Rome is pretty legendary.
Show your LGBTQ+ support during the festivities with some awesome pride-themed clothing and accessories.
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. Don’t forget there are also tons of Rome hostels to choose from.
For more LGBT pride ideas, explore these pride weekends and parades in Europe, Canada, the USA, South America and more.
Laura Bistrot is quite the hidden gem of a lunch restaurant. They have some peaceful outdoor seating area nestled behind lots of greenery within a small piazza. The wine selection is fantastic as well.
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!
La Grande Bellezza
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.
La Scala Via Veneto
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.
Bio Hotel Raphaël Rooftop
Having cocktails during sunset at the Bio Hotel Raphaël rooftop terrace was incredible. Their views of the city felt like something out of a movie. Dinner is also an option here, although I only went for drinks. Make a reservation, since the terrace is a popular spot.
The food at Osteria Baccanale in Campo di Fiore was perfect and certainly authentic. I loved the restaurant’s unpretentious yet classy ambiance, friendly service and ideal location in the plaza. The chicken cacciatore and pistachio ice cream were highlights.
Renato e Luisa
Renato e Luisa was an incredible recommendation from my friend Will, a Rome gay local. The flavors of their dishes were definitely the best I’ve had of any restaurant in Rome. I highly recommend it.
Just after sitting, the restaurant gave us some cooked slices of lemon that incorporated all the recognizable flavor types. The host said, “whichever flavor, whether sweet, salty, sour of bitter, remains in your mouth, that is the flavor of your personality.” It was such a unique moment.
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, gay saunas in Rome aren’t just for tourists. Local Italians go too! Here’s where to go.
Adam Sauna Roma
Recently opened in September 2021, Adam Sauna is a completely new gay sauna in Rome. The facilities include Turkish baths, a massage room, dark rooms, hydromassage pools and a bar.
Changing rooms have showers and secure lockers to keep your things while enjoying the sauna. If you get a chance to visit Adam Sauna, I’d love to know about it!
Bananon Club is another completely new gay sauna in Rome. The venue is both a bar/lounge and a gay sauna, which in my opinion is fantastic. You can socialize by the bar and make your way to the jacuzzi pool whenever you like.
Europa Multi Club (Recently Closed)
One of the most famous and popular Rome saunas was Europa Multi Club, which unfortunately closed down amid the pandemic. They were in business for over 25 years!
When 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 AM-5 PM 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 4 PM on a weekday.
It may feel strange to go to a gay sauna in the afternoon during the week. Gay saunas in some other parts of Europe for example would normally be empty at this time. This is not necessarily the case at Rome gay bathhouses!
Rome Travel Tips
Bring Cash for the Hotel City Tax
You’ll need cash upon check in to any rental or hotel. The city of Rome collects a tax from each traveler (about 4 Euro for each night) 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.
Rent Scooters to Explore
The scooters are literally everywhere, so finding one is never an issue. Just be ready to weave through some of Rome’s hectic traffic. Be safe!
What’s the Difference Between an Osteria, Trattoria & Ristorante?
As you browse Rome’s many delicious restaurants, you’ll come across lots of different types, most notably the Osteria, Trattoria and Ristorante. Each of these actually indicates how casual a restaurant is. An Osteria is most casual, a trattoria is semi-formal and a ristorante is the most formal.
In my experience, food at one these different types of restaurants isn’t necessarily better or worse than the other. It’s more about the dining experience.
Outside of Italy, Osteria, Trattoria and Ristorante are often used interchangeably and most people won’t pay much attention. But here in Rome, the difference is much more important.
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.
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.
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.