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Gay Guide to Rome: Everything you need to plan a fabulous trip!

Stefan Arestis
Gay Guide to Rome: Everything you need to plan a fabulous trip!

In this travel guide, we're sharing the best of what gay Rome has to offer based on our own experience.

Rome is RIDICULOUS!

Everywhere you step you stumble over an ancient artifact that dates back millennia… We've never been so spellbound and intrigued by a city before. It completely captivated us.

We had such a romantic time together in Rome. The rich history is just made for that – I arrived in the city one day earlier than Seby (due to family commitments) so went to meet him at the airport – he arrived on a late flight over. I brought him to our Airbnb in downtown Rome, dropped our bags, and went for our first stroll in the city at around midnight to the famous Trevi Fountain. Even at that time, this world-famous fountain is busy, but the atmosphere around it is truly magical.

When we say Rome is romantic, we really mean it. It's a great place to explore with a loved one. However, if you're looking for gay parties and nightlife, Gay Rome is rather limited. There are a few places to go out which we highlight below, but suffice to say, a trip to Rome should be more about the culture over the gay scene.

The Colosseum in Rome lit up at night with a golden glow.

Gay Capitals of Italy Tour – April/May

We love discovering a new destination as part of a gay group. It’s an instant “sisterhood” bond from Day 1 and such a brilliant way to make new travel buddies. We highly recommend this gay tour in Rome, which includes gay bar hopping, as well as guided visits to Florence and Naples.

Claim $100 off this tour by quoting NomadicBoys when booking!

Find out more

Is Rome Safe for Gay Travelers?

Yes, Rome is very safe for gay travelers.

Rome is very touristy with people visiting from all around the world, which makes it very gay friendly. We saw many LGBTQ tourists in Rome during our many trips here and didn’t have any issues booking a hotel room or an Airbnb. Rome also has a gay scene, albeit a pretty small one.

Although a subtle warning about LGBTQ rights in Italy, large swathes of society remain very conservative. For example, Italy is the only remaining major country in western Europe that has not yet passed gay marriage laws! In addition, Italy has limited adoption rights as well as limited anti-discrimination laws.

Our takeaway on this is you’ll be fine in the central touristic areas, but if you’re heading out to more rural areas or smaller towns/villages beyond Rome, then take care to limit PDAs to queer-friendly spaces.

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The Nomadic Boys kissing in front of the Colosseum in Rome at dusk, with the arches of the Colosseum lit up.
We felt safe enough for plenty of smooches in Rome!

Where is the Gay Area in Rome?

It’s tucked away just behind the uber-famous Colosseum. It’s as if the Roman Gods declared “Let There Be Gays!”

More specifically, the gay area of Rome is congregated along the street called, “Via San Giovanni in Laterano”, located to the east flank of the Colosseum. This street became so ubiquitous with Rome’s LGBTQ community that it was officially named“Gay Street” in 2007. Along the Gay Street of Rome, you’ll find the two main gay bars of Rome – My Way, and Coming Out. These two gay bars are essentially the beating heart and soul of the gay area of Rome. Weather permitting, crowds spill out onto the street outside converging into one big gay street party-like atmosphere.

There are a handful of other gay bars, clubs, and saunas scattered all around Rome including the Company ROMA bear bar, the Frutta e Verdura gay club, a whole heap of gay cruising clubs, and two gay saunas, all set out below.

A closeup of the statues above the water at Rome's Trevi Fountain.

Tuscan Decadence & Roman Resplendence

From Milan to Rome, this 10-day culinary crusade will immerse you in Northern Italy’s art, history, food, and wine. Alongside a group of like-minded men, you’ll wallow in the luxury of Lake Como, learn to make perfect risotto in Piedmont, uncork the viticulture of Barolo and follow a truffle farmer into the Monferrato woods.

Claim $150 off this tour by quoting NomadicOA when booking!

Find out more

The main gay street in Rome at night, with lots of patrons spilling out onto the street from the bars.
You can't miss the main gay area of Rome.

Where To Stay In Rome?

The official gay area of Rome is close to the Colosseum, so that's where you'll want to base yourself if you want to be close to the nightlife gay scene. However, anywhere in the city center you base yourself you'll be rewarded by being within walking distance of some of the most remarkable monuments on the planet.

One heads-up tip we give to gay travelers to Rome – if you're coming in on a late flight, you'll need a late check-in. Most Airbnbs and hotels will charge you an extra fee for late check-ins, so be sure to look out for this, or aim to book a hotel that has 24-hour reception.

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01

B&B 1st Floor Gay Hotel

A spacious bedroom at B&B 1st Floor in Rome with a view straight onto the Colosseum.

In a nutshell


  • Intimate – only 9 rooms available to book
  • Located above Rome's main gay bar and next to the Colosseum
  • Soundproofed rooms to minimize noise pollution
  • Late check-in is available at no extra cost until 2 am

This cutesie gay hotel in Rome is located right in the heart of the city's gay scene, just above the Coming Out gay bar. It's where we recommend basing yourself if you want to be right in the middle of it all. The Colosseum is also a stone's throw away, which makes it convenient for sightseeing.

Our concern about staying in a hotel located just above the city's main gay bar is the noise! We love a party but we love our sleep more. The owners have thought this through beautifully and have soundproofed their rooms thoroughly to ensure the outside noise doesn't bother guests.

Our recommendation for booking is to get a room with a view of the Colosseum. That way you've ticked off gay scene queen AND romantic heartthrob all in one, ready to impress your other half. The decor here is very chic and the rooms are named after gay icons like Freddy Mercury and Rimbaud. Guests can enjoy a sweet breakfast in the bar each morning.

Prices at B&B 1st Floor start from $145 per night:


STAY WITH A GAY LOCAL

Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, voiding any nasty surprises when you check-in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off our first booking.

02

Hotel Hassler Roma

An elegant bedroom at Hassler Hotel in Rome with a private balcony overlooking the city on a sunny day.

In a nutshell


  • The most decadent luxurious place to stay in all of Rome!
  • Famous for hosting celebrities when they visit
  • Well located overlooking the Spanish Steps
  • The Amorvero Spa massages are a real treat!

Hustle your way into the best 5* luxury gay friendly hotel in Rome. This is one of the swankiest hotels the city has to offer – the place to see and be seen.

Hassler is where celebs stay when they're in town. Everyone from the likes of Victoria & David Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Cruise, and Jennifer Lopez have made their mark on this gorgeous hotel.

Hotel Hassler is also perfectly located overlooking the famous Spanish Steps and within walking distance of sites like the Trevi Fountain. Inside the hotel, it is lushness personified! It's truly exquisite, a luxurious sanctuary – so gorgeous that weddings are hosted here, honeymooners book to stay here, and we've mentioned the bit about celebs, right?

The other big highlight is Hassler's in-house “Amorvero Spa”. You'll want to book yourself into a few of their treatments… trust us! Also, get yourself up to the Terrace Bar on the 7th floor for some impressive panoramic views of Rome.

Prices at Hotel Hassler Roma start from $855 per night:


03

Hotel Artemide

The rooftop Jacuzzi at Hotel Artemide in Rome, overlooking the city on a lovely sunny day.

In a nutshell


  • Highly rated medium-budget gay friendly hotel
  • Walking distance to the Trevi Fountain
  • Divine restaurant on the 7th floor with impressive views
  • Artemis Spa for massages and a well-equipped gym

Hotel Artemide is a highly rated medium-budget gay friendly hotel in Rome. It's located close to the Trevi Fountain right in the heart of Via Nazionale (a lively and bright street, with plenty of shops to keep Seby's credit card happy). 

The plethora of 5* reviews on Tripadvisor and Booking.com is what initially caught our attention, and we can totally see why.

Entering Hotel Artemide feels like you're immersing yourself in the rich atmosphere of Rome. It's set in a beautiful 19th-century building, complete with original features. The staff is welcoming to one and all – no one batted an eyelid at two men wanting to book a double bed.

Our recommendations to maximize your stay at Hotel Artemide – try their in-house restaurant, Ambrosia. Not only is the food really good, but it is also located on the 7th floor, offering magnificent views over the Rome skyline. Also, check out the Artemis Spa for massages and treatments.

Prices at Hotel Artemide start from $181 per night:


04

YellowSquare Rome

A bright, clean bedroom at YellowSquare Rome with a blanket on the bed reading "Need more sleep".

In a nutshell


  • Excellent budget option for solo travelers to Rome
  • Located above the Yellow gay bar
  • Rooftop yoga!
  • Reception is open 24 hours so late check-in is not a problem

Yellow Bar is one of our favorite gay bars in Rome and is also home to this fabulous hotel. It's one of the most highly recommended gay friendly hostels in Rome, which I've loved staying at on previous solo trips I've done to Rome.

The vibe here is super cool. The activities they offer, for example, include rooftop yoga, shopping tours, walking tours, and cooking classes with other guests.

In terms of location, it's a little bit further out than the other places we've put. It's a 10-minute walk from Termini Station. To get to the Pantheon or Trevi Fountain it's a few metro stops, or if you're Fitbit obsessed like I am and trying to get your daily steps in, factor in a 40-minute walk. 

The main takeaway from YellowSqaure is the convivial atmosphere. It's a great place to quickly make friends with like-minded travelers from all over.

Prices at YellowSquare start from $85 per night:


Exciting Gay Bars in Rome

Not going to lie to you, the gay scene in Rome is quite subdued – at least that was our initial impression when we first arrived. It surprised us at first because as the capital city of one of the main countries in Europe, you'd expect a large gay scene. Rome is a place to come for culture more than anything. There are a few gay parties happening, but not like anything you'd find in other European capitals like gay Berlin, Chueca in Madrid, the gay scene of London, or Brussels.

There are however a few gay places to check out, in particular Coming Out and My Bar on the gay street near the Colosseum.

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Coming Out

The entrance of Coming Out gay bar in Rome, with the Colosseum at the end of the street!

Coming Out is the most popular gay bar in Rome, going strong since 2001. It's an institution in Rome's gay scene located on Gay Street. This is the place where everyone will likely start their night, particularly on weekends. The crowd is a mix of gay travelers to Rome along with local gay guys.

There are themed nights at Coming Out, the most popular are Tuesday nights for karaoke, and drag nights on Sundays. By day Coming Out is a cafe resto/bar. By night it morphs into a glorious gay cocktail bar.

Opening Hours: Coming Out is open daily from 8am until 2am

Location: It's located at Via di San Giovanni in Laterano, 8


My Bar

Lots of people sitting outside My Bar gay bar in Rome at night.

My Bar is located next door to Coming Out on the gay street and is another institution on the Rome gay scene. A typical night out here will involve the crowds from both bars congregating and merging into one on the street outside creating a fun gay street-party vibe.

Like Coming Out, My Bar is a cafe by day and then by night morphs into a bar. It has a stage and a small dance floor where its resident DJ spins out commercial house music. My Bar also hosts the occasional karaoke night with a few hot exotic dancers.

Opening Hours: My Bar is open daily from 9am to 2am

Location: It's located at Via S. Giovanni in Laterano, 12


Company ROMA

A packed dancefloor lit up in purple at Company Roma gay bar in Rome.

We love Company ROMA. It's the main gay bear bar in Rome. The guys here are super friendly, so you can expect zero attitude, and just a great night out! Note that Company bar is not in the gay area of Rome and requires a 10-minute cab ride from Coming Out/My Bar if that's where you're starting your night.

Later in the evening Company becomes a dance venue with guest DJs who feature a mix of music – “Back to 90s” on Saturday is our favorite. They have themed nights like “Cruise on Monday”, and “Furry Friday”… note that every night out here becomes super cruisy later on in the evening!

Opening Hours: Company ROMA is open only on Thursdays (9pm to 3am), Fridays (9pm to 4am), Saturdays (9pm to 5am), and Sundays (9pm to 3am)

Location: It's located at Piazza Manfredo Fanti, 40


Yellow Bar

A marble statue holding a cocktail on a bright yellow background.

We love Yellow Bar. It's not only one of the coolest gay hostels to stay at in Rome, the bar is popping. It's a gay cocktail bar with a relaxed atmosphere. Thanks to its hostel guests, it attracts a very international crowd making it really easy to make new friends. We highly recommend coming here if you're traveling solo in Rome.

Yellow Bar has live music every day and also hosts a range of events including karaoke nights, DJ sets, and performers like Tonika. In terms of location, it's fairly far out from the city center – around a 15-minute cab ride north of the gay street.

Opening Hours: Yellow Bar is open daily from 8am until 3am

Location: It's located at Via Palestro, 38


Freni e Frizioni

The bar at Freni E Frizioni in Roma with yellow panels and lots of bottles.

Freni e Frizioni is a very hip bar located in the heart of the Trastevere district, just by Piazza Trilussa, overlooking the beautiful Politeama Square. If imported beers and tasty Martinis are your thang, then you need to head here. It has a highly-rated kitchen by day, which is worth checking out for its pizza/pasta menu.

The crowd is more mixed than the other gay bars we went to in Rome but no less welcoming. In terms of location, Freni e Frizioni is also quite far out from the gay street – around a 15-20 minute cab ride to the west.

Opening Hours: Freni e Frizioni is open daily from 6:30pm until 2am

Location: It's located at Via del Politeama, 4


Exhilarating Gay Clubs in Rome

As with the gay bars of Rome, the gay clubs are scarce in Rome, but the ones that do exist are a lot of fun (and super cruisy!). In terms of location, they are spread out in different parts of Rome, which will require a taxi ride to get to.

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Frutta e Verdura

A packed dance floor lit up with green strobe lighting at Frutta e Verdura gay club in Rome.

Fruits and Vegetables is the literal translation of this gay club – a play on the diversity of men you can expect to find. The main gay events that take place here are the men-only parties on Saturday evenings like Men2Men and Gorillas XXX. House and techno music rule the school at a Frutta e Verdura night out.

The crowd is made up of hot men – hot torsos everywhere you look… who become nuder and nuder, and sweaty, as the evening progresses… Expect lots of cruising here!

Opening Hours: Frutta e Verdura hosts Saturday/Sunday parties from 11:30pm until around 8am

Location: It's located at Via di Santa Passera 27 which is around a 25-minute cab ride northeast of the main gay street


Muccassassina @ Qube Disco

A group of performers on stage lit up with blues and purples at the Muccassina gay club in Rome.

Qube itself is not a gay club but it's the venue that hosts ad hoc gay parties on Fridays. Muccassassina is the main gay party at Qube where the cool young trendy queer kids come to party on weekends. It's been going strong since 1990 and has become a pillar in the gay scene of Rome.

Spread out across 3 dance floors in a rugged building in suburbian eastern Rome, it feels more Berlin-like here, which we love! Music is a generous mix of rock, disco, techno, and my favorite, pop. A night out at Muccassassina can get pretty popular so expect a long queue if you arrive later.

Opening Hours: Muccassassina parties are usually held on Friday nights but sometimes they have Sunday T-Parties during the day and other special events, so check their Facebook to see what's coming up!

Location: It's located at Via di Portonaccio, 212 which is around a 25-minute taxi ride northeast of the gay street


Alibi Club

Dancers on stage plus a crowd watching in front of the DJ at Alibi gay club in Rome.

Oh, we love a gay night out at Alibi! On the one hand, it has a romantic rooftop garden for chilling out in the warm summer months, on the other it has two floors each with a different club room. Latin music and reggaeton pop are the main music you'll boogie to at Alibi and we're not complaining!

House, soul, disco and the occasional pop hits also feature in the DJ's set list. The main parties happen at weekends, but it gets pretty busy, so unless you come early, expect to queue for a bit before you're allowed in.

Opening Hours: Alibi Club is open on Friday and Saturday nights from 11:30pm until 4am and on Sundays from 9pm until 2am

Location: It's located at Via di Monte Testaccio, 40/44 which is around a 10-minute cab ride southwest of the gay street


Saucy Gay Cruising Clubs in Rome

When it comes to gay outdoor cruising in Rome, there are several places rumored to be popular such as the restrooms of the Termini train station. However, your best bet is to head to one of the gay cruising clubs of Rome, of which there is a surprisingly high number!

Censured Club

Censured is the newbie on the gay cruising club scene of Rome! It's a few minutes walk from the main Termini station. It's set on two levels, which includes a bar, lounge, changing room, smoking area, showers, a red “play room” and obligatory dark room. Censured Club is located at Via dei Quattro Cantoni 5 and is open daily from 10pm until around 3-5am.

K Men Club

K Men is Rome's most famous leather club going strong since 1997. For newbies to the cruising scene be warned – this place is pretty hardcore! K Men has no bar but has an abundance of “glorious holes!“, private cabins, playrooms and a video room. K Men Club is located at Via Amati Amato 6/8, and is open daily (except Mondays) from 10:30pm until around 3/4am.

Il Diavolo Dentro

There is no dress code at Il Diavolo Centro! Come as you are or just go in your birthday suit. It's a pretty large space with a maze, cabins, play zone, bar, with smoking and non-smoking areas. Membership is required to enter but can be purchased on entry. It is located at Largo Itri, 23, and is open daily (except Mondays) from 9 or 10pm until around 3 or 4am (and from 3pm until 1am on Sundays).

Skyline Club

Skyline is a more chilled cruising gay club popular with men of all ages and body types. It's located near the San Giovanni metro stop, so it's easy to get to from the main gay street. Skyline has a large cruising area with labyrinth, dark rooms, cabins, maze and video room. It is located at Via Pontremoli 36, and is open daily from 10-10:30pm until 3 or 4am.

A group of young men walking past the Vatican in Rome.
Be prepared to see cute guys everywhere in Rome!

Are There Any Gay Saunas in Rome?

There are two! Adam Sauna Roma and the Apollion Sauna. You may see reports online referring to “Illumined Sauna” or “Spartacus” but note these are just former names of the Adam Sauna.

PRO TIP: In Rome (as well as the rest of Italy), you'll need a membership card to access gay saunas. The annual membership is 10 euro. Make sure you bring your ID with you the first time you go to a sauna to get that membership card.

Adam Sauna Roma

Adam Sauna (also known as “Illumined Sauna”) is the most popular gay sauna in Rome and also the largest. It is located around 20 mins walk east of gay street. Inside it has a Jacuzzi, spa pool, cruising area, dark room, cabins, sauna, and steam room. It is located at Via Pontremoli, 28, and is open daily from 1pm until 2am -and for 24 hours from Saturday at 2pm.

Apollion Sauna

Apollion Sauna is a more centrally located sauna right in the heart of Rome and in close proximity to the gay street between Colosseum and Termini Station. It has a steam bath, chrome therapy, sauna, video room, dark room, and pool. Apollion Sauna is located at Via Mecenate, 59A, and is open daily from 2-11pm.

Gay couple at Apollion gay Sauna in Rome
Live convo from the Apollion Sauna…”You left the toilet seat up AGAIN Stefan!”

Is there a gay beach in Rome?

Rome has a gay beach! The Il Buco beach in the Capocotta Nature Reserve is the main gay beach of Rome. Strictly speaking, this isn’t in the vicinity of Rome, but it’s affiliated to the Italian capital because it’s only 19 miles (30km) south. It takes around 1 hour to get there by public transport (train and bus).

Il Buco means “the hole” in Italian, which did make us giggle… Il Buco is in fact one of the best gay beaches in Italy that we’ve been to and certainly worth a visit. It’s located south of Lido di Ostia, which is hidden inside the tranquil Capocotta Nature Reserve. This makes it super remote and private, which is part of its charm. You’re not going to find hordes of crowds here, let alone families or screaming children… just lots of local gay Italian guys, some clad in their birthday suits!

Nomadic Boys kissing at il Buco gay beach in Rome
A gay romance taking place at Il Buco Beach in Rome

What Are The Best Gay Events in Rome?

Roma Pride is the main LGBTQ event in Rome, but be sure to also look out for the big queer electro music festival in September called Queerelle, a gay film festival in October, and the super popular leather based party in December.

Roma Pride (June)

Italy is still a very conservative nation despite being a West European country. Whilst all its neighbors are paving the way forward with LGBTQ rights, Italy is dragging its heels – currently, gay marriage is the main item the local queer community is pushing for. Roma Pride is the chance for the local LGBTQ community to make their voice heard, and they do a really good job of it!

Queerelle (September)

Queerelle is the super famous queer electro-music festival that gays from all around Italy and beyond head to. Queerelle usually takes place during the first week of September – if you're in town when Queerelle is on, expect your Grindr to go crazy! The event attracts a range of talented performers from theatre and TV, along with cabaret/drag artists.

Giornate di Cinema Queer (October)

Giornate di Cinema Queer is Rome's LGBTQ film festival that dominates the scene every October. The event includes screenings of LGBTQ-themed movies where the director and artists host a Q&A session after the film with the audience. The festival also includes meetings and debates around the different themes that each movie focuses on.

Fetish Pride Italy (December)

December is the month when the naughty boys of Europe descend on Roma to play! Leather dominates the scene but whatever you're into, you'll have the time of your life during this glorious event in December! It's organized by the not-for-profit gay association called “Leather Club Roma”, which does a fantastic job promoting health awareness amongst the local LGBTQ community.

The Nomadic Boys sharing a kiss in front of the Roman Forum and an incredible sunset in Rome.
Sunset in Rome is always an event!

Our Favorite Restaurants in Rome

This is a PSA for foodies: you're going to be SPOILT ROTTEN in Rome!

The food here is terrific. Everything has that unique “made by my Nona” feel to it, even the more touristy overpriced restaurants that sit next to a major attraction aren't too bad! Eating out in Rome was a big highlight for us. These are a few of our faves gay travelers should check out in Rome:

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Pane e Salame

Plates piled high with delicious sandwiches and meat from Pane e Salame restaurant in Rome.

Just a few steps from the Trevi Fountain is Pane e Salame, one of the best places in Rome for delicious panini sandwiches and charcuterie boards. It's rare to find somewhere to eat in Rome that's delicious, fast and affordable, but somehow they manage it! It's often very busy but the lines move fast.

This is a great spot for lunch, with some wine while enjoying the outdoor seating area, if you can get a table. We recommend the incredible cheese, mushroom and truffle cream sandwich or one of their yummy meat and cheese platters to share.


Bufalero

A platter piled high with meat and hamburgers from Bufalero Restaurant in Rome.

Calling all the carnivores! Bufalero is not a place for vegetarians as they specialize in amazing burgers and steak but if you love a bit of meat (ahem!) then you will adore this place. The service and vibe are outstanding here as well, but it's the juicy cuts of meat and towering burgers that really shine.

The only downside is that Bufalero is not terribly central, but my oh my is it worth the short uber if you want some truly mouthwatering steak or burgers!


Bono Bottega Nostrana – San Pietro

A sandwich and glass of wine sitting on the bar at Bono Bottega Nostrana restaurant in Rome.

While Bono Bottega Nostrana may seem like ‘just' another panini place, this restaurant has a very different vibe to our other favorite above. Bono Bottega Nostrana specializes in rustic panini sandwiches and charcuterie boards, in a classy little location that looks gorgeous.

Along with the sandwiches or charcuterie boards, they also serve lovely fresh juices, pizza, cups of fruit, decadent desserts and fabulous cocktails, so this is a great spot for dinner and a nightcap. It's also ideal if you've been exploring the Vatican as it's so close, make sure you save room for the tiramisu!


Vuliò

An antipasto platter with a cocktail on a table in front of Vulio Restaurant in Rome.

Vuliò is another excellent restaurant just outside Vatican City, but this one is on the opposite side near the entrance to the Vatican Museums. Here they concentrate on Apulian street food, also known as the cuisine from Puglia, and their dishes are amazing!

Along with delicious panini and platters that many eateries in Rome serve, here they also offer delights such as soup, salads and homemade desserts (both the tiramisu and strawberry cheesecake are great!). They also do homemade fries and excellent coffee.


Pasta e Vino – Largo Arenula

An overhead shot of a table packed with delicious dishes from Pasta e Vino Osteria in Rome.

When we say this was our favorite spot in Rome for fresh handmade pasta – we mean it! Pasta e vino literally means ‘pasta and wine' and that is what you get here, although it's the most incredible handmade pasta using recipes from the grandmothers of this family restaurant.

The only issue you may have is choosing between creamy carbonara, amatriciana, or classic parmigiana. They also strive to use organic ingredients all sourced locally, plus we haven't even mentioned the wine and desserts yet… one word – sublime!


Best Things To Do in Rome

The question is what ISN'T there to do in Rome! Just stepping outside your hotel and walking around is enough to fill your heart. The city center is one massive outdoor museum full of impressive and well-maintained historical monuments that date back centuries. You won't be bored in Rome!

Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

The Nomadic Boys kissing in front of the Colosseum in Rome at dusk, with the arches of the Colosseum lit up.

The remnants of ancient Rome are scattered throughout the city today and the Colosseum is perhaps the most famous monument in Rome. It was the largest amphitheater in the Roman world, constructed in 72AD, completed in 80AD, and often used for gladiator contests and other spectacles.

Very close by is the Roman Forum, a series of ruined governmental buildings surrounding a plaza. This forum was once the heart of everyday life in Rome and is still impressive in its ruined state. In between the Forum and Colosseum is Palatine Hill, where the ruins of imperial palaces can be explored.

These three open-air museums are best explored together as part of a guided tour, so you can hear all the history of why they were so important while also enjoying their beauty.


Trevi Fountain

The stunning Trevi Fountain of Rome illuminated at night.

The Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi in Italian) is easily one of the most famous fountains in the world, as well as the oldest Baroque fountain in Rome. Construction of this magnificent fountain was finished in 1762 and it features a main theme of taming the waters, with statues of the Greek Titan Oceanus and hippocampi.

It's always super busy with tourists coming here to throw a coin in the waters, legend has it that if you throw a coin over your left shoulder then you will return to Rome someday. Around 3,000 euros are thrown in every day and the money has been used for projects to help Rome's needy, so you can feel good about partaking in this tradition.


St Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City)

Light slanting down into the vast St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City with people wandering around.

The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican is the full name of the main church within Vatican City, which is usually just called St Peter's Basilica. Even if you're not a big fan of the Catholic Church (we hear you!) this is still an incredible building to see when in Rome.

St Peter's is the largest church in the world (by interior measurements) and one of the most famous examples of Renaissance architecture. It's believed to be the burial site of Saint Peter (one of the disciples of Jesus and the first Bishop of Rome) and where the Pope holds many important liturgies throughout the year. Partly designed by Michaelangelo, a visit to this incredible building is a must while you're in Rome!


The Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel

A wide marbled corridor with mosaic on the floor and statues in alcoves down the side.

Along with St Peter's, a visit to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel is also a once-in-a-lifetime experience if you're in Rome. The Vatican Museums house a vast collection of treasures belonging to the Catholic Church, and it's quite something to walk the marbled floors while seeing hundreds of old paintings, sculptures and other treasures.

The Sistine Chapel is most famous as the location where a new pope is chosen, plus it features an incredible ceiling fresco by Michaelangelo depicting The Last Judgement. It does get very busy because it's so famous, so it's worth buying your ticket beforehand online, which also gets you a queue jump. We recommend this option which includes a guided tour.


Vittorio Emanuele II Monument (Altar of the Fatherland)

The massive Vittorio Emanuele II Monument in Rome with blue skies behind it.

The Victor Emmanuel II National Monument (known as Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II in Italian or Altare della Patria “Altar of the Fatherland”) is one of the most impressive sights in Rome. It was built in honor of Victor Emmanuel II, who was King of Sardinia and later became the first king of an independent, united Italy since the 6th century.

This impressive construct was built to resemble a neo-classical Roman forum and stands in the center of what was ancient Rome. There is also an altar to the Goddess of Rome and a shrine to the Italian Unknown Soldier within the monument.


The Pantheon

The massive Pantheon in Rome on a sunny day with small people wandering around in front.

The final famous building in Rome (last but definitely not least) is the Pantheon, an ancient Roman temple which is now a Catholic Church. It was built by emperor Hadrian around 126 AD on the site of an earlier temple which had been built during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD).

Even though it was built more than 2,000 years ago, its dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome! And as impressive as it is to see from the outside, the interior is even more stunning, with circle and square patterns repeated throughout. It's also free to visit so you have no excuse not to.


Piazza Navona

A nude man statue/water fountain at Piazza Navona in Rome on a sunny day.

Not far from the Pantheon is the beautiful open plaza of Piazza Navona, which contains some pretty quirky homoerotic statues! This plaza was originally a stadium where ancient Romans came to watch games, but it fell into ruin and was then turned into a public space during the 15th century.

There are two beautiful fountains at each end of the plaza and one in the middle, which is where you can also enjoy looking at some buff sculptures wrestling dolphins or fighting an octopus – which kinda reminds us of Hentai… This plaza also hosts a charming Christmas market each year!


Planning Your Own Gay Trip To Rome

We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Rome. Read on to find out everything the gay traveler should know before they go.

How to get there: They say all roads lead to Rome, so it's relatively easy to drive into the eternal city if you are traveling by car. There are also train connections from multiple points within Europe. If you are flying to Rome there are two international airports, the main one is Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino International Airport while the G.B. Pastine/Ciampino International Airport mostly serves budget airlines within Europe. Only the main one is connected to the city by public transport, although we would recommend booking a private transfer to your hotel no matter which one you arrive at since it just makes everything so much easier and less stressful!


Visa requirements: Travelers from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand don't need a visa for stays in Italy for up to 90 days, so you shouldn't need one to visit Rome. Members of the Schengen Zone can also travel freely in Italy but if you're coming from somewhere else (or just want to be sure) make sure you check your personal visa requirements here.


Getting around: Rome has an extensive public transport network consisting of a metro, trams, buses and an urban railway line. While many of the most popular attractions are fairly close together and walkable, you will probably need to use public transport to see everything you want to. We recommend getting the Omnia Card for your trip since it includes three days of public transport use, museum discounts and skip-the-line tickets to both the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum. Then you can also use this site for understanding how the transport options all work.


Power Plugs: Italy uses power plug type F and L which also work with C and E. If you're traveling to Italy from North America, the UK, Australia or some Asian countries then you will need to bring a travel adaptor with you.


Travel insurance: We always recommend you get travel insurance because you never know when something might go wrong on your journeys even in the amazing city of Rome. We love to use Heymondo as their cover is so comprehensive and it's easy to make a claim online if something does go a bit pear-shaped.


Vaccinations: The CDC recommends that all travelers to Italy should be up to date with routine vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, and Covid-19. You may also need vaccinations for Hepatitis A, B and rabies, so check online based on where you are coming from.


Currency: Italy (and Rome) uses the Euro like most countries in Europe. Generally, €1 converts to around $1.10 US or about 89 pence in British Pounds.


Tipping culture: Technically, tipping isn't required when traveling in Italy, although it's starting to become more expected in popular places like Rome due to the large influx of American tourists. You won't need to tip very much, maybe just €1 or so. For a full guide to tipping in Italy, check out this article.


Internet access: It's possible to access free Wi-Fi throughout Rome but we recommend buying an Italian SIM card when you arrive. Otherwise, we also recommend renting a pocket Wi-Fi device for your trip.


Online privacy: Since Italy is slightly backwards when it comes to gay rights, you might be better off bringing a virtual private network like this one so that you can access gay dating apps like Grindr and Scruff when in Rome.


Accommodation: There are plenty of great places to stay in Rome, so make sure you check out Booking.com if you want to see even more options. We love using booking.com because they have excellent online support, it's really easy to book online and a lot of places even offer free cancellations.


Sightseeing and adventure: For more fun things to do in Rome, check out GetYourGuide. We love using their easy online booking system to find exciting activities to do wherever we travel. Their online customer support is excellent and available 24/7 as well.


When to visit: Rome is very hot in the middle of summer, so the seasons of spring and fall are the most pleasant for visiting. However, these are also the most popular times so expect prices to reflect that. If you're looking to save money then during winter the temperature rarely drops below freezing, so you could still have a great time so long as you bring a coat!


Gay Map of Rome

We've put all the places we've talked about in this guide into a handy map to help you plan your own fabulous trip to Rome.

A map of Rome with different attractions marked with different colored icons.

For more inspiration:

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Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor, and author of the gay travel blog nomadicboys.com. As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about traveling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends, and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gaycation Magazine, Gaycities, Gay Times, Pink News, and Attitude Magazine. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay-specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practiced as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

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