Tuscany Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Tuscany gay travel guide to the best hotels, restaurants and gay bars across the best towns in the region.
The Gay Travel Experience: Tuscany, Italy
Tuscany has plenty of gay life, especially as a popular gay summer destination in Italy, when you’ll find LGBT Italians from neighboring cities in the region travel to this part of Italy.
While most travelers know about the city of Pisa, neighboring Lucca and Torre del Lago might surprise gay travelers with undiscovered LGBT life.
Plus, discover gay life in the towns of Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi and San Vincenzo. Within this guide, you’ll find recommendations for all these places!
My Tuscany gay travels are specifically memorable because I met one of my closest friends here. I made a trip to a gay club in the town of Torre del Lago and ended up instantly connecting with a guy who is now one of my closest friends.
Is Tuscany Gay Friendly?
Italy’s Tuscany region is quite gay-friendly. Tourists shouldn’t run into any issues traveling here. Local Italians in Tuscany however tend to keep a low profile, as there is certainly a segment of the population that is more conservative.
I found it interesting to hear my local friend’s perspective about how gay-friendly Tuscany is. He mentioned that conservative Italians specifically inhabit Lucca, and so it is less common to express affection in public here, as compared to Pisa and Torre del Lago.
This is not to say that there isn’t an LGBT community in Lucca. There definitely is, especially when the tourist season peaks. His opinion does support the fact that LGBT individuals may keep a lower profile. Overall, I never encountered any issues being gay in any Tuscan town.
Gay Tuscany: Hotels & Where to Stay
You’ll find plenty of inexpensive hostels and hotels in Pisa since this famous city is a huge stopping point for backpackers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find something gorgeous. There’s plenty to choose from.
I stayed in a vacation rental near the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This area wasn’t the most picturesque in terms of architecture, but it was cost-effective. There were many cheap places to eat and grab a coffee nearby.
Consider a hotel near Piazza dei Cavalieri if your budget allows. Hotels south of here toward the river are great too. This is the best part of Pisa, where streets bustle with people and restaurants.
North of this area, you’ll likely find less authentic vibes. Tourists flood the northern bit of the city, closer to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The luxurious Bagni di Pisa is one of my local friend Nicola’s favorite hotels in the Pisa area. They’ve got an unbeatable pool and charming design.
If staying outside the city center is an option, you’ll be thrilled with this hotel. My local friend Nicola adores Bagni di Pisa.
I also stayed one night at Hotel Paola while visiting Lucca. The hotel is in Altopascio, not far from the town’s local train station. From here it was easy to head back to Pisa.
Tuscany Gay Travel Experiences
Things to Do in Pisa
Definitely walk through the Pisa city center and spend an evening in a trattoria! Take in the outdoors and the clanging of restaurant dishes as the sun sets.
There are many small shops in Pisa as well, especially in the main streets which cross the river. Strolling over Ponte di Mezzo at sunset is quite romantic!
Try a few different types of pizza (or the same pizza at different restaurants) to get a feel for what your idea of “good pizza” really is.
Comparing the flavors and thickness with pizza made in other parts of the world is always interesting. Also, you absolutely must have the traditional Aperol Spritz before your lunch or dinner. It’s cheap and delicious.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is of course on everyone’s bucket list. A fundamental example for geotechnical engineers, the tower is truly beautiful in person.
Spend a few minutes in the Piazza dei Cavalieri as you’re walking through Pisa. This area is a beautiful, wide-open square with interesting architecture.
The Cutest Café in Pisa
Stop into Caffè Sant’Anna for some great coffee with fantastic service and free Wi-Fi. Some of the friendliest service I have ever encountered in my entire life, I felt like a true Italian ordering my morning cappuccino!
They also have outdoor seating, perfect for taking in the vibe of the city. Remember that on Sundays, many cafés are closed.
Popular Activities on GetYourGuide
Lucca is worth visiting both during the day and at night. No matter what time you visit, I’m sure you will love this town’s storybook-like charm.
During the day, there are plenty of stores to do some shopping and streetside cafes where you can relax and have a coffee.
In the evening, many churches and landmarks are beautifully lit. I recommend visiting Lucca’s Duomo di San Martino. The view from the adjacent piazza is wonderful.
Lucca’s massive walls surround the elevated city. The city boasts one of the few renaissance-era walls that are still completely intact!
Much less touristic than Pisa, you’ll catch a true glimpse of Italian life in Lucca. Within the walls, you’ll find beautiful bike and pedestrian trails, which overlook the surrounding region from their elevated position.
Tuscany gay travel can’t exclude Lucca. Since there’s so much culture and activities in Lucca, head on over to the official Lucca Tourism Website.
Restaurants in Lucca
Lucca has some unforgettable local restaurants with wonderful outdoor seating. Three of the most popular restaurants are relatively close to one another.
Walking past Da Umberto, the smell of pizza fills the air. Da Umberto is a classic Neapolitan pizza restaurant that’s very popular with locals in Lucca.
Da Ciacco is around the corner, a slightly more formal option. My local friends love both of these restaurants.
Ristorante Vipore is an upscale, traditional Italian restaurant only a short drive outside central Lucca. I had one of the most memorable dinners of all my time in Tuscany here.
They offer authentic local dishes that are specific to the Lucca region. The flavors are marvelous and the service is top-notch.
Tuscany Gay Beaches
Most gay travelers are surprised to learn that there are a few hugely popular gay and nude beaches in Tuscany! Here are the beaches you should know about.
After sunset, everyone sticks around to party at all the beachfront gay clubs here in Torre del Lago, which I’ll mention below.
Spiaggia di Rimigliano
Just south of the town of San Vincenzo, there is a calm yet cruisy gay beach at the southern end of Spiaggia di Rimigliano.
As you walk south from Spiaggia di Rimigliano, you’ll first encounter the mixed nudist beach. Continue walking from this point and you’ll reach the gay nude beach area.
A decent bit of gay cruising happens in the wooded area adjacent to this part of the beach. If you’re looking for some fun, wander the trails in the later part of the afternoon. This is when you’ll find the most guys around!
Gay Bars in Tuscany
Marina di Torre del Lago Puccini boasts the best gay nightlife in the region. Tons of bars, restaurants, and lounges line Viale Europa, a beachside road.
Mamamia is a huge indoor-outdoor gay dance party that quite literally spills into the parking lot. You can attend one of Mamamia’s rowdy parties into late September!
The music at Mamamia was upbeat and there were fun drag queens and dancers on the balconies. The party usually starts just before 1:00 and will go until pretty late. I left at 3:30 AM and it was still full.
If dancing is not your thing, then spend a night in Lucca where you can enjoy a trattoria all night long! There are many high-end restaurants in this small city, perfect for a date or group dinner.
Tuscany Gay Travel Tips
Getting to Torre del Lago
To visit Torre del Lago just for a night out, take a taxi directly there and back. Although the train goes to the area, it is not desirable to walk the distance between the station and the beach because it’s very dark walking through the nearby campgrounds.
If you take the train there, go before sunset so you can enjoy the walk. A taxi is about 50 Euros one way from central Pisa.
Avoid "Gift-Giving" Souvenir Salesmen
When visiting any tourist-filled area, steer clear of people selling necklaces and other jewelry on the street. Don’t allow them to place anything on your hands or wrists, or they’ll start expecting money.
They often won’t accept the item back and will follow tourists until they pay. I only encountered this in Pisa, but it’s still worth mentioning.
Where to Get Groceries
Need to stock up on groceries or personal care products? Esselunga is a local chain supermarket that has everything. I grabbed a bunch of inexpensive wine, snacks, toiletries, and some groceries for the week. There are a bunch of locations.
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Local Public Transit
Public transit after dark can be a little unreliable. Unfortunately, local buses did not arrive as indicated per Google Maps. Leave plenty of extra time if you are catching a train or flight.
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.
Whenever I’m flying between European cities, I often check Vueling first. Their ticket prices are some of the cheapest and they have direct flights into Pisa.
Order Coffee Like a Local
First of all, Italians are specific with their coffee. Here’s a tip to not look like a clueless tourist. Cappuccinos and lattes are for breakfast only; ordering these after dinner is strange to Italians. Furthermore, they find drinking any coffee right before a meal to be odd.
After dinner, only espresso is acceptable to order in Italian culture. Espresso is an anytime drink and is otherwise known as Italian coffee. For the Americans, there is no such thing as iced coffee and Americanos really are not common.
The region of Tuscany is truly beautiful and peaceful. If you enjoyed this Tuscany gay travel guide, share it with a friend.
Next, discover southern Italy’s gay-friendly region of Puglia with wolfyy’s Puglia gay travel guide.