IN ROME? SHOW YOUR PRIDE!
It may come as a surprise to some, but Rome is no stranger to Pride. The inaugural Gay Pride first took place in June of 1994, and while the development has been a relatively slow process, Pride and the general LGBTQ+ scene in the city continues progress and develop. Rome is a city of many facets. And so, despite being home to The Vatican and generally firmly held religious beliefs, the Eternal City also puts on an incredible Pride celebration each year in June. Rome Pride offers a spirited parade and plenty of festive celebrations in the city. While the LGBTQI+ scene in Rome may not be as robust as the one found in other awesome Italian cities such as Milan, you are guaranteed to experience a colourful side of Rome this June.
The very first WorldPride took place in Rome in 2000, with a week-long festival that attracted a host of gay activists from roughly 40 countries. An estimated 70,000 marchers participated in the rally, setting a precedent for the many WorldPrides to follow. Rome Pride again achieved a claim to fame in 2011, when EuroPride hosted its annual celebration in the Eternal City. The unique event welcomed headline act Lady Gaga (what!) and attracted a massive crowd cementing Rome Pride as an essential staple in Europe's Gay Pride calendar (Hell yeah!).
Today, Rome Pride is a leisurely day that usually takes place on a Saturday in June. The parade kicks typically off from Piazza Della Republicca, close to Roma Termini station, and travels through the city streets before finishing up at Piazza Venezia. Firstly, it celebrates the conquests of freedom and self-determination that began almost 50 years ago, on the legendary night of the Stonewall Inn Riots in New York. Secondly, Rome Pride strives for legal institutions that provide equal marriage, parenting for all, and laws against LGBTQI+ discrimination. With the 2016 passing of a law protecting civil unions for LGBTQI+ people, Rome's general attitude towards the community is improving. The annual Roma Pride is a testament to this.
You know what else is super cool besides the grand Pride celebration in Rome? Every summer, Rome’s queer community moves to the city's southern suburbs for Gay Village, a 15-week long party and celebration. Every night from May to September, you can expect to find gigs, club nights, film screenings, theatre, competitions and cultural events. Over 200,000 people attend every year, meaning you are guaranteed to meet LGBTQI+ folks from around the world during your visit.
FASHIONABLY LATE? JOIN IN FOR THE AFTER-PARTY
Suppose you're late to the party or just not into crowds. In that case, Rome's gay street—Via San Giovanni in Laterano, not far from the Colosseum— often hosts a series of small-scale street parties where you can enjoy cocktails under the sun with live music and pride revelry. Following the parade each year, many of the city's gay bars and clubs host special events and parties to keep the celebrations going well into the night.
Here’s where you can catch the post-Pride celebrations:
-Coming Out is a 300-metre shopping and bar area in the centre of the city, located near the coliseum. It's on Gay Street di Roma, which is designated as an LGTBQI+ friendly neighbourhood, and it gets packed on weekends.. It's also where the opening ceremonies, led by the Italian LGBTQI+ organisation Arcigay, were attended by celebrities and national and municipal politicians.
-101 Club is one of the latest additions to the LGBT bars in Rome and has risen to the top of people’s list in no time!
-And finally, Company Roma. A wonderful underground bar, this is where you'll find Rome’s bear population. There’s a catch— need a membership card to enter.
Besides these top three bars, there's a wide variety of LGBTQI+ parties in Rome regularly.
The top three clubs with regular events you should put on your "To visit!!!" list are:
-GIAM, whose weekly Saturday event takes up three dance.
-Muccassassina is in the heart of Rome and has multiple dance floors with different types of music, so there’s something for everyone.
-Last but definitely not least, Frutta e Verdura rocks the “all for one and one for all” spirit by being a venue inclusive of people from the whole LGBTQI+ spectrum.
Overall, Rome is a great city for LGBTQI+ people, and offers a lively and supportive community. There are a few areas to be cautious in, but for the most part, Rome is a safe and welcoming place for all residents.