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
There is plenty of gay life in here in Tuscany. Especially during the summer months, gay Italians from neighboring cities visit 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 my pal Nicola.
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 friend 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. 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
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 local friend Nicola 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
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!
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.
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.
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 street side cafes where you can relax and have a coffee.
In the evening, many churches and landmarks are beautifully lit. I recommend you visit 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. Foccacceria Il Nicchio is perfect for some classic pizza and focaccia. I loved their tartufello!
A short drive outside of central Lucca is Ristorante Vipore, where I had one of the most memorable dinners of all my time in Tuscany.
An upscale, traditional Italian restaurant, Ristorante Vipore offers some authentic local dishes that are specific to the Lucca region. The flavors are marvelous and the service is top-notch.
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, steer clear of people selling necklaces on the street. Don’t allow them to place anything on your hands, or they’ll start expecting money.
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.
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 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.
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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.