Tuscany Gay Travel
Learn about Torre del Lago, the regions huge gay beach town in wolfyy’s Tuscany gay travel guide. Plus, where to stay, nightlife spots & restaurants in historic Pisa & Lucca.
The Gay Travel Experience: Tuscany, Italy
Pisa is well known to most travelers. But neighboring Lucca and Torre del Lago might surprise gay travelers with undiscovered LGBT life. You’ll find a sizable gay community in the region along with an authentic slice of Italian culture.
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 Nicola, who has since become one of my closest pals.
I found it interesting to hear Nicola’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. This opinion does however signal that LGBT individuals may keep a lower profile. Overall, I never encountered any issues being gay in any Tuscan town. All felt safe.
Gay Tuscany: Hotels & Where to Stay
Pisa is filled with hostels and cheap hotels since this famous city a main 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 I surely found value here. There were many cheap places to eat and grab coffee nearby.
If your budget allows, stay at a hotel near Piazza dei Calavieri. 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.
If staying outside the city center is an option, you’ll be thrilled with the luxurious Bagni di Pisa. My good friend Nicola, a local of Tuscany, adores the hotel’s unbeatable pools and charming design.
The central rail station is on the southern end of town and it’s relatively easy to walk northward into the heart of the city. You shouldn’t need a taxi unless you have a lot of luggage or just prefer not to walk.
Tuscany Gay Travel Experiences
Definitely walk through the 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!
While in Italy, I ate enough pizza to feed a small army! I suggest you try several different types of pizza at a few 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.
As you are walking through town, spend a few minutes in the Piazza dei Cavalieri, a wide-open square with nice architecture.
If you need a gym, check out the no-frills Ready Pisa on the south side of the city center. They have a full range of equipment available.
Ready Pisa charges about 10 Euros for a day pass and also have full-week options. Be sure to bring your own water bottle, soap and towel as the locker room facilities are minimal.
Catching a train to Lucca for a day trip if you are staying in Pisa. Italians love Lucca for the one-of-a-kind vibe straight out of a storybook.
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.
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.
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 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.
I stayed one night outside Lucca in Altopascio called Hotel Paola. It is right near the train station so the next morning I could easily head back to Pisa.
Tuscany Gay Travel Tips
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 though 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.
When visiting any tourist-filled area, I would steer clear of the guys selling necklaces and trinkets on the street. They will approach you and place bracelets and what not on you, but don’t let them.
You may also find that they become aggressive when you refuse to give them money. Engaging with them will only prolong the interaction, so just aim to avoid it.
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.
Whenever I’m flying between European cities, I always check Vueling first. Their tickets are some of the cheapest, they have flights directly into Pisa, and I’d definitely choose them over Ryanair.
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.
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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.
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.